To the Editor of THE EAGLE
This letter is in regards to the Pittsfield City Council’s $200,000 reduction in the school budget.
School Committee members are by law autonomous in the ongoing operation of the schools. They listen to the public twice a month and they listen to the administration and teachers and the students. They are qualified by that design to determine the school budget as they are empowered under Education Reform.
They listened to the parents from Egremont and to the many, many advocates for vocational education in Pittsfield and they prioritized those initiatives in drafting a budget for the city. It is the school department that determines the line items as they are informed. Line item decisions are not the purview of the city councilors.
Are they looking for us to return mid-winter when the schools run out of fuel? To his credit, School Committee Chairman "Alf" Barbalunga appeared with little notice to defend the budget for the children of the city. His presence and contribution clearly fell on deaf ears of certain councilors.
Thanks to those who supported the schools to the end. There were, however, those councilors who in originally voting the school budget 10-1, and then at the 11th hour deciding to use it as a repository to fund other needs, have let the children down.
We want to bring children back from school choice and private options. It is time parents mobilize and attend council meetings to remind the councilors their children can’t return for a second run. The time is now. The budget was framed around a solid vision.
Hopefully, those who support education and, in turn, the quality of life in Pittsfield will remember June 27, 2013, when they go to the polls to vote for City Council on Nov. 5, 2013.
The writer is former interim superintendent of the Pittsfield schools.