The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 19, 2003

High school faces large budget cuts in FY05

To the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to update the citizens of Concord and Carlisle on the current state of affairs of the FY05 budget for our high school.

Working with the school administration and the Finance Committees (FinComs) from both communities, our initial analysis of the FY05 budget indicates that we face further budgetary cuts well beyond the significant reductions previously taken in FY04. The FY05 levy limit guideline issued by both FinComs will require that the Regional School District reduce spending by approximately $1.0 million below the current level of services. The Concord FinCom, recognizing the draconian impact of the levy limit guideline on the operations of the high school, has recommended an override guideline that, if approved by the voters in both communities, will lower the necessary budgetary cuts to approximately $500,000. The Carlisle FinCom has not broached the issue of an override at this time. We appreciate the efforts of both FinComs in recognizing the districts' financial needs during these difficult times.

How will we deal with these reductions? In FY04 we tried as best we could to cut spending in areas that would not negatively impact the direct educational programs offered to our students. We believe that at this point we have just about exhausted the areas outside of direct student services that we can cut. The contract with the high school teachers association limits the class load per teacher and restricts the student/teacher ratio. In the absence of any flexibility in this area, along with the lack of availability of alternative areas to cut, in order to make up the budget shortfall we will need to reduce the programs available to our students. The magnitude of the problem is such that we cannot adjust a little bit here or a little bit there. In fact, we will need to look at cutting the entire athletic program, significant portions of the art and music programs, some foreign language and physical education, the radio station, many co-curricular activities and even then we still will not be at the levy limit budget.

The Regional School Committee will be making some tough and difficult decisions in the months ahead. We ask for your support as we work together through these difficult times.

Michael E. Fitzgerald, Chairman
Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee

Writer tells of transititions at the Concord Bookstore

To the Editor:

As some Mosquito readers perhaps know, there is a sad situation at the Concord Bookshop. Rumors abound, but it appears that for financial reasons, the owners have demoted one or more managers and have decided to reduce the number of author appearances. The managers have resigned in protest, and many of the staff have resigned or are planning to resign in sympathy.

Staff members and local authors fear that this upheaval will seriously damage the warm, friendly atmosphere of the bookstore, which, as I'm sure Mosquito readers know, is loved by many residents of Concord, Carlisle, and surrounding towns and is one of the few firmly independent bookstores in these days of large impersonal chains.

There seems to be no solution at this point except to extend sympathy to remaining staff and to protest to the owners. It is a shame that both sides haven't been able to join together to work out a solution to whatever problems led to this apparently precipitous action.

Nancy Garden
Ember Lane

Blanket donations sought

To the Editor:

We are still collecting blankets for Solutions-At-Work and will be collecting them until Presidents Day in February. Blankets can be dropped off at the Petrie barn on 39 Baldwin Road. Your donation is tax deductible.

With $100 raised by bake sales and donated by the Fenn School student senate, we purchased 100 yards of Polartec remnants offered at a discount rate for charitable purposes by Malden Mills. The youth group from the First Religious Society got together and sewed over 25 blankets from the remnants and a collection of scarves and neck warmers. How exciting to see the independent efforts of the Fenn School, the First Religious Society, and Malden Mills all combine to provide blankets for so many! Solutions-At-Work is very appreciative of everyone's generosity and hard work.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

The Petrie Family
Baldwin Road

Come to a party in support of Howard Dean

To the Editor:

This past week, Howard Dean received the endorsement of Al Gore, helping to solidify his position as the front runner in the Democratic Presidential Primary race. His campaign has inspired more the 500,000 people to sign up as supporters, creating the largest grassroots campaign in history.

On December 30, Jon and Margie Saphier will be hosting a Dean House party called the "New Year for America" Party. Come and see what all the excitement is about. The party will start at 7:30 p.m. and there will be a conference call to Howard Dean at 9:30 p.m., linking as many as 1,000 house parties coast to coast.

Come join your fellow Carlisle citizens who are concerned about the direction that our Administration has taken our country. Please RSVP to Bob Wallhagen at 1-978-369-7802 or by e-mail at Party snacks or hors d'oeuvres appreciated but not required.

Bob Wallhagen
Timothy Lane
Carlisle Coordinator, Dean Campaign

The Mosquito needs more balance

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Marilyn Harte's "Changes Coming to Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge." The caveat of "opinions expressed on this page are solely those of this writer," can only be taken so far. Marilyn is obviously very against hunting and my guess is she is against hunting everywhere, not just in Carlisle. While it is her right to be anti-anything, she does your paper and Carlisle a great disservice by stating "facts" very onesidedly.

She states hunting access is "clearly unpopular in Carlisle." How does she know this? Did she take a random poll? Did she survey Mosquito readers? My guess is that she is using her dinner conversations or nothing at all as a basis. Not once did she mention the deer population problem this area is facing. Not once did she mention Lyme's disease. Not once did she reference Carlisle resident complaints about their shrubs being eaten all winter. Not once did she mention the benefits of eating venison vs. fatty beef. Not once did she mention the thousands of pounds of venison donated to the hungry each year. And this list goes on.

There are reasons for federal hunting mandates that somehow never were presented in Marilyn's article and I think that is irresponsible reporting.

In the future, I would like to see positives and negatives presented in a balanced article, which will allow Carlisle residents to make informed opinions and decisions based on facts, not one reporter's feelings.

John Tepedino
Hemlock Hill Road

P.S. I agree with you on the issue of dog walking!

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito