A Kindler, Gentler Budget Process

“06880” is not Nostradamus.  But if Wednesday night’s candidate debate is any indication, the 2010 budget process will be far less rancorous than ’09.

The Board of Finance candidates — 4 are competing for 3 seats — oozed civility and reasonableness, at the LWV-sponsored event.  More importantly, all acknowledged — in fact, stressed — the crucial role of our schools in keeping the town vibrant, and our property values high.

To varying degrees, all said:  Education is important.  And it is important that we pay for the high-quality education our school system provides.

The Board of Ed candidates reiterated the need to focus on programs, courses and class size.  Whatever goes on each day in our classrooms — from kindergarten through high school — is the key component of education.

Candidates for both boards emphasized the need to communicate with each other — and with other departments, and the town at large — long before budget votes are taken.

On paper, those words can sound like the promises we hear every year.  But the measured tones in which they were conveyed — and the memory of last spring’s harsh meetings and votes — makes us hopeful that this year’s budget process will be civil, efficient and relatively stress-free.

Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  If last May can be considered “history,” it seems Westport has learned its lesson well.

blog - Dodd

Last spring, Staples students protested proposed budget cuts. Will this year's budget process be less confrontational?

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