Friday, February 10, 2012

Stop The Unfunded Mandates

Bob Cirba, Guest Contributor

I am curious.
When did we become so jaded that we no longer care about how the system we live within does business?  On Monday the 13th we have the annual Wringing of the Hands where the State reps (Gobi and Durant accompanied by Senator Stephen Brewer) give the State of the State address and tell us (for the fourth year in a row) just how badly we are doing.
Now for my money we could mail this bad boy in since it will once again be the same litany of excuses that we have grown accustomed to and been sedated by.  How did we get here and more to the point, when did this become the standard that we live by?  Take the recent article on the 11.3 million that we spend to bus homeless kids.  Now, I am all about making this an easier transition on these kids since they do NOT choose to be homeless.  Having said that, once again the Feds in their ever knowing wisdom and reach expect the towns and by extension the school district to pick up the tab on all of this.  I have no problem helping these folks out but the Mckinney-Vento program expects the towns to pick up the tab on all of this with zero Fed or State reimbursement.
So where does all of this leave us?

Once again, the Feds as well as the Patrick administration pays the lip service to education and East Brookfield and the town of Spencer and by default,  it’s citizens get to pay the fare for this program.  Maybe I am crazy, but just one time I would love to see the Feds or the State implement  a program that we did not have to pay for above and beyond the education of our own kids that live in this town.  The real bitch of all of this is that Brewer, Gobi, and Durant will blow into town, tell us how little we can actually expect his year, and we are supposed to say, “Gee folks, that is acceptable to us and of course we will keep paying for programs with no hope of every being reimbursed for these mandates, and can we have some more?”   What planet are we living on that this is acceptable behavior?  And how can anyone (politician or otherwise) feed us this BS and expect us to keep on paying the freight?
I for one expect our politicos to fight for us and ask the tough questions.  Although in asking these questions, they might not curry party favor, but what about our favor?  What about helping the folks who voted you into office in the first place?  Remember us? Here is a thought (and I will admit it is outside the box) how about doing what is right by your district?  Steve Brewer is the head of the Ways and Means Committee the most powerful committee in the Senate and what good is it doing us?  I can’t wait for Monday night as I have a few questions for these folks, and I should not be the only one.  It is time to wake up and putting their feet to the fire and start expecting resolutions and not open ended promises and vague options.  It is time for real answers to our problems.  If you are going to insist on educational reforms then damn it, help us pay to institute it and other programs that help others.  Do not put this on the back of local schools and districts that can ill afford the extra money to do the right thing.  We all want to do the right thing, but in any budget, we just do NOT have the money for all the liberal BS that accompanies all of this.  Our school budget in Spencer is roughly 26 million dollars and eats up a huge chunk of the town budget and it should.  Educating our kids is not only their right but our responsibility. 
But the constant insistence of the State and the Feds to raise the bar comes on our dime with little or no input from the people expecting us to pay for all of this.  You want to do it that way, fine.  Let the towns set the bar and pay for it as they see fit and not the lame ass way it is currently done.  We got MCAS and kids that STILL cannot read.  We don’t teach Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic anymore, we teach AT these kids not to them.  Do we need to address the gaps in our budgets, yes, but those gaps should be or our own making and not the mandates of a State and Federal programs that insist on raising the bar, yet keep us from hiring teachers and additional staff to do so.
Enough is enough, and it is time for the representatives that put forward this agenda to respond to the voters and explain why this keeps happening.  Accountability.  It is all I am asking for.  Too bad it is such a pain in the ass.

(Bob Cirba is a former member of the Spencer School Committee)


  1. Perhaps the reason is our Rep is more concerned with the Greenway in Boston than the towns in his district?

  2. Wow. Reading this guy's blog was a thorough waste of the last ten minutes of my life. Wish I could get those back. He's ignorant in so many arenas my stomach hurts. Apparently you can teach, Bob, but you can't be taught. Ignorant.


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