Last week’s letter by Ted Kosiavelon of the “No Override” group ignores a basic fact about the Dracut public schools.
Our schools receive less money than almost all other towns. Kosiavelon may recall an era long gone when Dracut was well up in the rankings. To ask the schools to “live within their means” when our rank in school spending per pupil is eighth from the bottom sounds silly.
His next point suggests we should spend even more override money on paper and crayons and that we should delay any spending on technology. I’m sorry, but if he has been paying attention he would realize the technology situation is desperate. We are replacing a network that was obsolete eight years ago. The MSBA is helping us with $249,436 in new infrastructure, which lasts 15 to 20 years, as part of the high-school project. The five other schools do not qualify for this aid. Investing just $600,000 to put the same systems into five more schools and $250,000 to interconnect them is a great deal.
Finally Mr. Kosiavelon worries about the taxes. A legitimate concern, but let’s not get carried away. Revaluation, which occurs every three years, has no added effect on the average tax bill. Cathy Richardson has been saying that “many” homes will receive a tax hike of over a thousand dollars. I’m sorry, but records from the town assessor show that only 54 homes — those with a value over $962,000 –will have a thousand-dollar increase in fiscal 2014 from the school portion of the override.
This is not like federal spending where we don’t have much say. This is money that we control and monitor. Careful use of the funds is a goal I share with Mr. Kosiavelon.
His kids enjoyed the benefits of quality schools and the town has a responsibility to ensure the same benefits are enjoyed by Dracut’s next generation.