The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 15, 2002

Apologies needed for flyer

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, March 6, my kindergartener brought home a note from her teacher about times for a forthcoming parent-teacher conference. Stapled behind that was a flyer enjoining me to attend a meeting of the selectmen taking place that evening. The flyer alleged that certain named services will be cut in order to meet FinCom guidelines." It specifically asked me to attend the meeting to "tell the selectmen you don't want these services cut." Four names were placed without comment at the bottom of the flyer (Andi Gettys, Lou Ann Chiotelis, Pam Schad and Liz Bishop). My first reaction was to assume that the school itself sent this. It was, after all, stapled to other school correspondence and placed into my daughter's backpack by her teacher.

I remain shocked and disappointed in the manner that this flyer was distributed. It is simply morally unacceptable to use our children as unwitting pawns in political activities. I was told by one of the signatories to the flyer and a member of the school's administrative staff that this was not a political flyer. Let us make no mistake, this was categorically political. The flyer explicitly asked me to attend a meeting and protest against the alleged cuts.

Political groupings have every right to organize, and make whatever statements they feel appropriate. I fervently defend Andi, Lou Ann, Pam, and Liz's rights to do this. They should not, however, use our children.

For these reasons I call on the four co-signers of this document to apologize to our children for their unwarranted manipulation of them.

Simon Jensen-Fellows
Judy Farm Road

School should explore alternative funding

To the Editor:

Thursday I answered my cell phone to find my seventh-grade son on the other end. "Where can I find my dad to discuss why the FinCom is closing the school library and laying off teachers?" The incident that provoked the phone call was a memo sent home with students titled "Carlisle School Services Being Cut." The now infamous yellow paper listed school services that would be eliminated to meet FinCom guidelines. In addition to the memo, several teachers mentioned the potential cuts to students.

As the parent of two school-age children, I feel that it is inappropriate for the school to use my children as a means to communicate their business problems to parents. Why are our children being burdened with issues such as closing the library and the elimination of staff positions? In the future I hope the school will consider using alternative forms of communication like e-mail, a telephone chain or an article in the Mosquito to reach parents.

For weeks I have watched my husband, the FinCom chairman, dedicate hours to finding ways to develop a balanced budget and minimize a tax increase - not an easy feat in an economic climate of declining revenues and increasing expenses. For town departments such as the school, it means tough choices in eliminating services to meet the budget guidelines established by the FinCom. On the other hand, this is an opportunity for the school committee, the CSA and parents to come together to evaluate creative alternatives to restore necessary services. Are there school services that benefit a few children for which a fee could be charged? Are there services that could be provided by volunteer resources? Could we fundraise to cover some expenses?

I find it sad that, as parents, we feel entitled that the taxpayers of Carlisle should fund any and all school services without consideration to the cost and to how many children it benefits. Once again, I urge parents to work with the school committee and the CSA to look for ways to fund services that cannot be included in the budget for the coming school year.

Nicole Burkel
School Street

Some civility, please

To the Editor:

This past Wednesday a letter written by four parents was sent home to all parents of children in the Carlisle Schools. For those people who do not have children in the schools the letter said, "To meet FinCom guidelines, the following Carlisle School services will be cut: the Library, four Middle School teacher assistants, second reading specialist and kindergarten full days. Do you want the chance to vote to keep these services? The selectmen are meeting Wednesday March 6 to finalize the Town Meeting funding articles. We need you to attend the meeting. Tell the selectmen you don't want these services cut." It then goes on to tell people to come to the meeting and to call the five selectmen.

As the spouse of an elected public official I understand that our home telephone number is published so town residents may speak with my husband regarding town issues. What I do not understand is the lack of civility that the parents used when our phone starting ringing on Wednesday. My husband and other members of the board of selectmen and the finance committee willingly volunteered to be in a public office. However, their spouses and children did not and do not deserve to be harassed, spoken rudely to and yelled at because parents were not involved in the budget process where the school committee recommended the aforementioned cuts.

In the past issue of the Mosquito a parent was disappointed with the civility of the parents in regards to children's sports, apparently their civility is lacking in other areas as well.

Mary Beth Stevenson
Cross Street

New revenue sources needed

To the Editor:

I've been thinking...why is it when times get tough our town leaders react by cutting back on education, police, fire, and other town services? The budget problem in this town is not that we spend too much on the services we provide; the problem is that we don't have enough sources of revenue. This is a problem that has been looming before us for over a decade and the voters in this community have not been offered any choices of new revenue sources. Hence, the property tax is our major source of revenue and the voters will determine how much they are willing to pay for the services they want if well thought out and well-explained options are offered at Town Meeting and on the ballot.

However, I believe that we also need options on the ballot that lay out in a thoughtful and well-explained way new sources of revenue for the town. If voters want services and don't want any of the new revenue options, then presumably they will vote to pay for those services. If they don't want to pay so much, then they should vote for new revenue sources. If they don't want either, then they are voting for reduced services. Anyone who believes that we can get the same services by spending less money is being naive and is taking advantage of our town employees. Perhaps some new fees can be instituted for one year only (by ballot vote) with the understanding that fees will be replaced by a new revenue source in FY04. Slashing town services is not a good solution.

Cindy Nock
Canterbury Court

Ballantine running for selectman

To the Editor:

Yes, I plan to run again for the board of selectmen. Why? First, and most importantly, because I enjoy it. Second, because the town is obviously confronting some challenging times over the next couple of years. I believe that I bring some perspective and balance to the ongoing debates about taxes, services, education and conservation. Third, because my years of involvement with various town committees (finance, housing authority, municipal land committee, personnel, school council) are a valuable source of knowledge for the board of selectmen. Finally, because someday I would like to see Carlisle support and move forward with a new affordable housing project.

Like most of us, I am very aware of the special and unique qualities of Carlisle. Its people, its employees, its land, its schools, its services. I feel very privileged to be a part of this town. I enjoy my volunteer contributions of time and energy to Carlisle's future. I would very much appreciate your support and a vote for my final three-year term on the board of selectmen.

John Ballantine
Fiske Street

CCHS musical says thanks

To the Editor:

The students and faculty of the CCHS Music Department have just completed a wildly successful run of this year's musical, "Anything Goes." For the first time at CCHS, all five shows were sold out and patrons were turned away at the door! It was a tremendous experience for all of the 120-plus students involved.

We would like to thank our community partners for their outstanding support. Our ticket outlet in Carlisle was Daisy's Market; our outlets in Concord were Video Revolution, the Cheese Shop, the West Concord 5&10 and the Toy Shop. The owners and staff of each of these establishments contributed time, effort and enthusiasm as they helped us attain sell-out status. Many businesses, large and small, placed ads in our program book, resulting in revenue that will be directed back into the next music and drama productions of this school year.

We had a delightful window display at the Concord Bookshop which gave us fabulous exposure and was enjoyed by many. Dunkin' Donuts and the West Concord Supermarket provided food donations that added both fun and profit to our lobby concessions. We seated over 3,000 happy ticket-holders over five shows. The audience's response to the students' efforts was both gratifying and thrilling.

It does "take a village" and our Concord-Carlisle village has rallied to support its children and to validate the importance of performing arts in the public schools.

On behalf of the cast, crew, pit orchestra, house staff ­ and their parents ­ we thank you.

Karen Morse, president, CC-POPS
(Concord-Carlisle Patrons of Performing Students)
Rutland Street

Should cats run free?

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the Forum letter of March 8. We knew the cat referred to very well, but his first name was Teddy as his face was like a sweet teddy bear (or so I thought.) The cat came in our cat door 13 years ago when we were living on Forest Park Drive, and my cats were quite disturbed. I called Kit Crowe (the barn owner, in the story) and she moved him in and named him "Moocher" where he stayed for some weeks. For a while he visited us, then disappeared and was named "Mackerel" and living with the Howes. Often she and I mused over "the neighborhood cat" now dubbed by us as "Teddy, the mackerel moocher."

My concern was the view that a cat should live a free and unfettered life when every vet and cat magazine now advises differently. We have the cats Teddy tried to room with. They are not de-clawed; we provided a scratching pad and sprayed the furniture with a citrus scent and in the beginning kept a water spray handy.

Who is to say that it is "a quick bundling of the (cat) into eternity?" Our friend's cat has twice come home recently, so badly mauled and bleeding from an encounter with something, while free, it required extensive stitches. Our cats lived free until we discovered a coyote camping in the front yard. Now they go out on

the porch and in the garden that is fenced with a top over edge fence. They still get to hunt in a smaller territory.

I don't like that freedom for cats (and even us since September 11) has changed, but I don't feel I am taking my chances on the road, as I don't think the trucks are out to hunt me down, unlike the coyote and cats.

Joan Parker
Russell Street

Cable woes

To the Editor:

How very typical of ATT Broadband, at the very time Americans require an understanding of governmental and geopolitical events, the informative and commercial-free, C-Span2 is replaced by a Texas based televangelist network whose sole purpose is an info-mercial for Armageddon-flavored biblical prophecy.

Apart from cursing the suits at ATT, the only option available is hoping for improvements in direct broadcast satellite technology.

Douglas Poole
East Street

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito