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School department: City needs a vote
Manchester voters should have the opportunity to vote on whether to make the school district a city department. They won’t, though, because seven aldermen fear the idea and won’t let the voters have a say.
Proponents of the administrative restructuring say it will save the taxpayers a lot of money. Mayor Ted Gatsas figures it would be in the $1.2 million range. Opponents note that the school board would still have budgetary and operational control of the schools. Therefore, they say, the move would be pointless. So why are they afraid to let the people decide?
The move would be far from pointless. It could result in significant budget savings from program consolidation and operational efficiencies. It might slightly weaken the school board’s control over district operations. And the school board has been even more enthusiastic than the aldermen to raise spending on the school district indiscriminately.
That is probably why the proposal to let voters decide whether to make the district a city department got a “no” vote from Aldermen Dan O’Neil, Joyce Craig, Ron Ludwig, Patrick Long, Garth Corriveau, Barbara Shaw and Patrick Arnold, all reliable votes for public employee unions. Can’t run the risk that the people might save a little money rather than spend more and more every year.
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