The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 10, 2002

Support for Burkel

To the Editor:

I would like to recommend voters support Nicole Burkel for school committee. Our community would be well-served if this smart and dedicated woman is elected.

Nicole is the mother of two children who attend Carlisle Public School (CPS), a school and community volunteer and a business woman. She understands the perspective of parents who want the best education for their children. At the same time, she is concerned about the high level of taxes and the burdens these high taxes place on residents of our town. Nicole would work hard to strike a good balance between the requirements for excellent academic classroom education and what the community agrees to support financially.

The school committee will face many challenges over the next two years. Given the state's financial difficulties, state aid is likely to remain low. As a consequence, the town's budgets are likely to continue to be under pressure. The school committee will need to make tough decisions to establish its key priorities. It will need to find creative ways to fund other desirable school programs. Sadly, our fine superintendent, Davida Fox-Melanson, will be retiring. The school committee will need to search for the right individual to build on her excellent work. The teachers' contracts at both schools will be renegotiated. Space constraints at CPS and CCHS will need to be evaluated. Many important tasks!

I am sure that Nicole's experience would benefit the school committee as it grapples with solutions to these complex issues.

I hope you will support Nicole Burkel in the upcoming election.

Lisa Jensen-Fellows
Judy Farm Road

Support for Barbee and Fitzgerald

To the Editor:

When I served two terms on the Carlisle School Committee in the '90s, current CSC candidates Christy Barbee and Michael Fitzgerald were already actively involved in our schools. Christy wrote articles for the Our Schools newsletter that explained curriculum developments to the wider Carlisle community, and she volunteered in many other quiet ways at school. Michael attended countless CSC meetings as a FinCom representative. He had a masterful grasp of budgeting details, but he also saw the big picture ­ the responsibility to fairly balance the needs of the school with those of the town. Christy and Michael have both contributed to the fine quality of our schools.

The CSC faces mounting challenges in the coming years ­ providing for growing enrollments with increasingly limited funding, hiring the next superintendent to lead the school, addressing needs for more space, and negotiating contracts. Similar issues loom at CCHS. Serving on the school committee is wonderfully rewarding, but it is also a huge time commitment to a job filled with controversial decisions, this year more than ever. Both Christy and Michael are experienced and have shown that they are willing to devote the time to getting the work done. More importantly, however, they are good listeners who can work with others to resolve thorny issues with fairness, respect, humor and grace.

Carlisle is fortunate that Christy Barbee and Michael Fitzgerald have stepped forward to serve. I endorse them heartily and urge others to vote for them too.

Debra Lyneis
Rutland Street

Selectmen and FinCom support 5.9% override

To the Editors:

The board of selectmen and the finance committee support the 5.9% override budget that was passed at Town Meeting on Monday, May 6. The override budget was carefully put together over the past five months by the board of selectmen, the finance committee and each town department. The override budget gets the Carlisle Public Schools (CPS) and the departments back to the original finance committee guidelines ­ 2.5% increase in department budgets and 5% increase for CPS. (The high school budget will be addressed separately, probably in a Special Town Meeting this June). If the 5.9% override does not pass at the town election on May 14, Carlisle will experience significant reductions in service (and personnel) in all town departments.

We urge you to vote on May 14th and support the 5.9% tax increase override.

Many thanks,
John Ballantine
chair, board of selectmen
Tony Allison
chair, finance committee

A taxing situation

To the Editor:

I took out my IRS returns for the years 1992 through 2002 and checked the amount of my real estate tax deductions. Here's what I found. Starting in the year 2000, my real estate tax bill increased over 6 percent each year. One year the tax bill increased over fourteen percent. Each yearly increase is added on top of the previous year's increase. The net result has been a cumulative increase over the last three years of over 31 percent. I compared these figures to those in the period from 1992 to 1999. I found yearly increases were less than four percent and the cumulative increase was only nine percent for the seven year period. If all this seems incredible, check your own tax bills for these periods and see for yourself. Simply refer to your IRS returns, assuming you itemized deductions. Clearly, Carlisle real estate taxes have gone out of control.

The board of selectmen and finance committee are offering three choices to the Town for Fiscal 2003. The choices are:

A no-override budget involving a 3.7 tax rate increase

A $393,000 override leading to a 5.9 tax rate increase

A $546,000 override leading to a 7 percent tax rate increase.

I understand that these tax rate increase projections are very optimistic assuming that FY 2002 town revenues and expenditures will both be on-target and that Concord will not pass an override impacting Carlisle's CCHS assessment. If these two unlikely assumptions fail to pan out, the projected increases can be expected to go up by one full point or more ­ 4.7%, 6.9% and 8% respectively.

It is time to regain control of our real estate taxes. Please join me by voting no on all overrides at the Town Election May 14, 2002. Carlisle can learn to live within its means.

Judy R. Larson
Forest Park Drive

Just say no to an override

To the Editor:

Taxes have skyrocketed over the past ten years (42 percent to be exact) - 31 percent in the past three years alone. Unfortunately annual tax increases in Carlisle have become as predictable as our pesky mosquitoes. But with a much bigger bite. It's time to cry "uncle."

A 5.9 percent or 7.0 percent override this year is not healthy for us and not healthy for our town. We've been forewarned that things will get even tougher in the future as we face bills of at least $20 million for a new school septic system, a new school and an expansion of CCHS. Add to that the important annual budget increases necessary to run any successful town.

Let's not forget that we're facing the fact that our contribution to CCHS this coming year is likely to drive up our taxes by at least another percentage point.

And that's not the end of the story. A 5.9 percent or 7.0 percent override - plus the probable CCHS override - adds to our tax bill next year and the year after that and the year after that... It doesn't require new math to see where we're headed.

While many are inclined to vote for a 5.9 percent override instead of 7.0 percent because it seems like a "fair" compromise, the fact of the matter is, the no-override "balanced budget" is a 3.7 percent increase in our property taxes. Even that's above the rate of inflation. That's a fair compromise.

Tuesday we will have the option to just say "N.O.­ No Override." N.O. to our annual tax increases that continually dwarf the rate of inflation. N.O. to tax rates that have spiraled out of control. N.O. to overrides that are threatening the character of our town.

The Carlisle Committee for Tax Fairness urges our fellow citizens to vote "no" on Question 1A and no on Question 1B.

Larry A. Bearfield, chairman
North Road
Carlisle Committee for Tax Fairness

Acknowledging our exceptional teachers

To the Editor:

Teacher Appreciation Week began on May 6 and the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF) is using this occasion to organize a fundraiser to acknowledge the exceptional work of the Carlisle School teachers, administrators and staff persons. All of this year's funds will be disbursed to teachers to use at their discretion to purchase supplies for special projects. What better way to honor our teachers than to promote and support their creativity?

Thanks to all of you who have contributed so far. For those who haven't yet, it is not too late. A mailing went out several weeks ago; if you didn't receive it, please call Lisa Harris at 1-978-371-2494.

Laura Snowdon
vice president, CEF

Community dialogue on male violence

To the Editor:

As a member of Men Against Domestic Abuse and Control, I wish to invite fathers, sons, brothers and lovers to attend a community dialogue on our masculine role and its effect upon the women in our lives. Mothers, daughters, sisters and lovers are invited to join this dialogue as the recipients of our role. A discussion about men, women and violence will focus on two short films about men and the masculine role. The first is "Tough Guise," a film which analyzes masculinity as a social construct, a role, in short, "tough guise." The program will also include Breaking Our Silence, a presentation of men who live or work in Gloucester and have joined

together to change how they deal with domestic violence. These films are powerful and are recommended for high school through adult, not younger.

The community dialogue will occur Tuesday, May 14 , at 7:30 p.m. at the First Religious Society, Carlisle Center. Refreshments will be served.

Ed LeClair
Baldwin Road

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito