Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fault VS. Responsible

Admittedly, I am not the best public speaker, as I never stay on topic, and I HATE reading from my "script".  So below you will see my "speech" as it was intended to be read at tonight's public hearing regarding the City budget.

April 24, 2014

 Good Evening Mr. Mayor, Council, and Citizens of Middletown,

 I stand before you this evening in awe.  In awe of the seemingly insurmountable task you have been charged to accomplish.  You have to figure out how to fund a city with all of its various needs, demands and requests, in a time where we are still dealing with unprecedented financial turmoil, coupled with one of the worst property revaluations this city has ever seen. 
I am not an individual who looks to raise taxes to solve our problems.  But what the general public needs to understand, if you raise the mil rate it would only be to keep pace with years prior.  I am just one individual, who will tell you with all my gumption – I do NOT want to pay one penny more in taxes than I did last year but I am ok with a Mil increase to keep me where I was.

I believe this is my third year at this meeting standing before you with the same message.  PRIORITIZE!  Mr. Mayor, I reflect back to your most recent swearing in ceremony in November, where you painted a picture of walking along the river with your kids and an ice cream.  I think that’s wonderful, but at what cost? The Schools?  Our Safety?  Prioritize.  Increase the value of our homes and our education, then you will have the money you need, to do what you want to do, without passing the buck through bonding and without raising our taxes.
There is a difference between the words fault and responsible.  It is not your fault that the state has forced unfunded mandates regarding education, and continue to underfund their previous promises.  But, you must be responsible, fund our schools to the best of your ability AND fight the good fight with our state lawmakers.

You were all elected to represent our city and fight the fight for us – and I do not envy the task in front of you – but this what you signed up for – what you swore an oath to do.

In conclusion I have two challenges for you:

1.       Fight for us – go to the state – get us what we are owed.

2.       Fund the schools- FULLY.

It is a marathon with the state not a sprint – I get that, but the schools can’t wait we need the money now.  We are not a failing district – but we can’t be allowed to wait until we are.  I appreciate that you do not flat fund the schools – but, you have also never fully funded us.  Try it once, see what we can do, give us the Band-Aid we need until you get the state to help us out.  If we still fail you – then further change will need to be made.  My promise to you is this, if we get the funds for the school – my battle will move on to the board of education on spending it properly.

 Brian Kaskel

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I disagree. When I pick up the local paper and see that the BOE wants to add another assistant superintendent so they can implement a new accounting system, it shows you what their priorities are. Certainly not children. They keep adding administrators and the scores keep stagnating or going down. They've gotten more money than most other school districts have over the past few years and they are performing worse. Until they can stop squandering our money on adults and show some return on our investment, they shouldn't get a single dime more.