Letters to the Editor: Make decisions on savings local

The delay in the adjournment of this year’s legislative session was caused by the governor’s insistence on establishing statewide negotiation of teacher health care benefits. Gov. Scott claims that only a statewide contract can secure the $26 million annual savings he believes is achievable.
It is surprising to see a Republican administration and many Republican legislators jump on board with this proposal. It flies in the face of decades of establishing budgets and dealing with teacher contracts at the community level. Whatever savings are available can be realized no matter who does the negotiating, the state or local school boards dealing with their own teachers.
The real question is: Where will the decisions be made about how to use the savings — at the local level or at the state level? If ever there was an opportunity to stand up for local control over school financing, this is it. Our local school boards should continue being responsible for making budget decisions, including negotiating health care plans with their teachers. Then the decision on how to use the savings will be made where it should be — right in the affected communities.
I urge my fellow citizens to ask the governor to drop this hasty and ill-conceived notion by calling 802-828-333.
Spencer Putnam

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