Opinion: VUHS taxpayers can no longer afford all the ‘extras’

Has the Vergennes Union High School board not been informed that the taxpayers are done with “over the top” cost-per-student rates that are the highest in the country that do not give results of a better education for the students in our neighborhoods.
The financial hole that VUHS apparently is in is not the taxpayers’ responsibility to fix — the school board has to remember that “there is no money” in this community for them to use to bail them out. Taxpayers are DONE handing out funds to ill-managed schools boards.
Voters and taxpayers, get off the comfort of the couch and get into the faces of these school boards and voice UP.
The seniors are on a fixed income. The student numbers are not there to support all this spending. Did no one on this board listen to the governor to make cuts? Well, it is CUT time and DOWNSIZE time. I would like to see an 11 percent increase in my Social Security but only a little over 1 percent was added. Where do you think all the extra money that is not there is coming from? What does one spend an increase of $18 dollars on? The heat bill or the medications you need? Food, well that is out, you go without while the school board raises your taxes. The piggy bank is empty. There is NO money for the increases. 
The school board needs a financial adviser who can cut the budget and create one. Evidently the business manager cannot do the job. In fact that is the problem. No one knows how to do major cuts that will improve the education all the students want. It is quite simple, back to basics with languages for college-bound students to excel. The extras that are most wanted will have to come with fundraisers. My cheerleader group used to empty all our change purses to pay the teacher’s gas to get us taken to games. It is basics, simple basics.
Keeping the school in good upkeep condition should have been done years ago on a yearly basis with budgeted funds prior to the millions of dollars amounts the taxpayers get slapped with. The taxpayers are DONE handing out money to schools who do not provide education with excellence to put the students out in the world to earn a good living. The time for “wants” is over. The key word here is CUT, to restructure the system into an appropriate learning center with affordable non-union teachers to bring the cost per student into a reasonable amount one can afford while providing an excellent education for students. Did someone not get the message here? It is shutdown time? The cliff is here and you are over it. Overspent for years and now the new era is cuts, restructure and provide basics. 
The student representative on the VUHS board wants to cut $25,000 plus $8,000 saved with a $200,000 program. Students will get more opportunities with a better education, not all the extra activities taking away from study hours. Oh, really. Ya, really.
Voters get out there and vote down, and vote down and vote down again the budgets that are not reconstructed until these school boards get the message. The re-vote to get their way is over. Yes, you would be surprised what one can afford with cuts. Will Vermont be the first state to use non-union teachers with reasonable salaries? The state is starting to say that, or was it the Feds? With no picket lines allowed in Vermont the pay raises will not increase our costs. When was the last time you had a considerable pay raise to match all these increases being asked for? Oh, you have not seen one as a middle-class hardworking taxpayer.
Town meetings are coming and citizens need an uprising to get education back in affordable ranges. Refusal with insistence is the task to reach goal results. Lower taxes. That last with restructuring. I want to see all halls filled on Town Meeting Day with people. Till there is standing room only. Then you can go home with a sigh of relief that you were seen and heard. Yes, do speak up.
Five-year plans are cop-outs to get more funds and “pay over five years.” Well, how many five-year payback plans overlap?
I see VUHS board member Laurie Childers wants for her children. I do too. But not at the expense of others who can no longer afford the extras. She would be a good fundraiser for the schools. Lean machine? She has not yet seen a lean machine, but she will when major cuts come in this year and next year. The time has arrived, it is NOW.
Elizabeth S. Armstrong, West Addison

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