To the editor:
When we chose to buy our first home last year, we chose Tiverton for its small town feel despite adjacency to bigger cities. When we bought the house, we chose to pull our daughter from a small private school and trust in the schools our new town offers. As a public school teacher myself, I believe in public education; it is truly the great equalizer in our nation. You can imagine my horror when I witnessed the Tiverton Budget Committee shoot down a 1% increase in net school spending as though they were asking for millions. This is certainly not what I had in mind when purchasing a home for my children.
Tiverton residents need to know that the schools, library, and pretty much every other public works are in danger to the rogue wishes of certain members of the budget committee. Attend any Tiverton budget meeting and witness the personification of the saying, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Under an archaic charter, several members of the committee are disrespectful, demeaning, and only looking toward their own interests. You can witness the members of the committee shouting at town residents as they try to speak during citizens’ input.
Perhaps it is no surprise then that at the March 16 meeting, it was deemed that public input was no longer necessary and the committee voted to remove it despite it not being placed on the agenda (a violation of the open meetings law.) Public input was called “not productive” and members said they felt “attacked” by those speaking. Funny, I thought these were people elected to represent the citizens, not silence them. Each aspect of the recent meetings has been almost unbearable to watch and the student senate meetings I attended as an undergrad had more decorum and sense of Robert’s Rules than these held by our elected officials.
Today I implore the budget committee to do their due diligence as elected officials and act in the best interest of the town. Cuts to schools, fire, police, or the library are simply intolerable. But most importantly I urge all Tiverton residents to unite and let the budget committee know that this will not stand in our town. I assure you, their budget impacts us all. This will not be another year in Tiverton of petitioners budgets getting passed under our noses. We are unified, we are aware, and we want only the best for our children and our community.