To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Once again, The Eagle is on the wrong side of the discussion. The school bus plan to replacing the aging fleet should have been dead on arrival. We haven’t even paid off the bond on the last purchase, and the School Committee, always willing to spend someone else’s money, decided to purchase more buses and float another bond, which will only increase taxes more.
Kudos to the responsible councilors who rejected this irresponsible plan as another cost to the taxpayer. Other school districts in and out of Berkshire County contract out those services, and Pittsfield should be looking at that as the best option for the taxpayer because it doesn’t saddle us with the employee and benefit costs eternally.
Getting children to school on time should be the problem we are trying to solve in the most cost efficient manner possible. It is not the job of the School Committee to provide employment for the citizens of Berkshire County. Outsourcing buses, janitorial services, and other support services to maintain teaching positions should be the thought process of the School Committee and the City Council.
The last acting superintendent took the Council to task for cutting $200,000 out of an over $50 million budget, which was sad, but predictable for educators who have no fiscal responsibility. Every time someone who is actually looking out for the taxpayer pushes back to cut costs, the School Committee cuts emotional areas such as sports and activities to rally their constituencies around the flag to protect their sacred cows.
My taxes have gone up almost $600 in the seven years that I have owned my home, and it’s about time that people actually look to reduce costs and services so children get a quality education at an affordable cost to people on low or fixed incomes.
Pittsfield has more employees working for the city and School Department now with a population about 34,000 people than it did when GE was at its peak and the population was around 48,000 people.
It’s time for the City Council, School Department and the mayor to realize that unless you grow the base of businesses and citizens, that raising taxes to pay for goods and services you can purchase cheaper is in the best interests of the taxpayer.
CARMEN J. SIMONELLI