I was unable to make either of the Board of Education presentations (April 10 and April 16) of the budget due to family health reasons. The below letter was read into the minutes each time (unfortunately as correspondence instead of public comment) and I was told was going to be handed over to the reporter covering for reference and/or possible inclusion in his article. Since it never appeared, I am submitting to you.
Since I wrote this letter on a small Blackberry while at a hospital, there are some errors that I would normally had caught if originally done on a larger screen. But because it was already read into the minutes I am electing not to edit it and submit as was, so I apologize for any errors that I didn’t catch in the original submission.
Letter originally read at the April 10 and resubmitted at the April 16 meeting.
My name is Brian Ploss. While I am a member of the Board of Finance, I am addressing my concerns as a resident of Beacon Falls. I am sorry that I am unable to attend in person but family health issues make it impossible for me to attend. I am also sorry if this may read a bit rough but is very difficult some times to write and proof anything long on Blackberry where can only see a few lines at a times.
To the members of the Board of Education.
Once again you are before us looking for approval of another budget in which I know you feel justified that your “due diligence” of checking every line item for necessities and eliminating waste was accomplished. But no matter how much work your board has put into that process, you need to go back and start from the beginning and cut significantly.
While there are benefits being a part of a region of shared costs, your budget has continually made it almost impossible for the residents of Beacon Falls to move forward with needed improvements, never mind basic needs of daily operations that our town has to put aside year after year after year because Beacon Falls basically can’t afford anything after you are done.
Every year the residents of Beacon Falls demand a zero to minimal increase in the municipal budget while you are left unchecked with no oversight from the perspective of almost every resident in Beacon Falls I have talked to.
That is correct — left unchecked with no way or means for Beacon Falls residents to say no because we are totally governed what both the BOE and Prospect wants. So that leaves the town of Beacon Falls virtually no way to send your budget back to you with a voted No statement to look at it again in the same fashion or mechanism that the residents have with the town budget.
I know many before me have said similar statements in the past, but it is obvious that our cries for fairness in decision making power has gone ignored. So I call to the Beacon Falls members of the BOE to take the budget back to the drawing board and start again.
You must keep in mind that while you don’t work on the municipal budget, what you do has total impact on what the town operates with. And this is only going to get infinitely worse with the new building projects.
While there is an obvious need for schools, there has to be something left to provide services and needed\mandatory improvements. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in the past. If this issue is not addressed there will not be any need for any Beacon Falls members of the Board of Education because there will be no one left in Beacon Falls with kids.
As a final comment, with all the money that is spent, we should have a world-class education system which (without mentioning names) as I have talked with several members mult times, is sadly not the case. Many aspects of the education you provide is lacking and behind other systems. And before those in the audience and BOE members scoff, I know firsthand of students who were considered as solid-to-above students were as much as three-quarters of a year behind going to other systems. Sadly I must remind those that I have talked to of this very same conversation had last year and prior. My daughter is just lucky that I spend all the time she needs at home to give her a fighting chance understand all that she needs to succeed in school.
Bottom line is that if the BOE refuses to do what is correct for both the town and education and burn your budget, don’t be surprised if people who till now have kept relatively quiet, start holding you accountable for any issues with them education you provide our children.