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    Wayland Voters Network October 11, 2004 Dear Wayland Voter: SPENDING, TAXING, AND SPENDING The following notes on last Monday s School Committee meeting and a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2004
      Wayland Voters Network
      October 11, 2004

      Dear Wayland Voter:


      The following notes on last Monday's School Committee meeting and a
      portion of the Selectmen meeting were submitted by Tom Sciacca, WVN

      A High School Proposal vote is headed for January.
      More school spending is in the works.
      School enrollment is dropping.
      A $1 to $2 million override is slated for April.
      See the last item for WVN's tax analysis.

      School Committee 10/4/04

      HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSAL- At this regular meeting the School Committee
      formally voted to request the Selectmen to schedule a special election
      on January 25, 2005, and a Special Town Meeting two days later to vote
      on a Proposition 2 and 1/2 debt exclusion and appropriation,
      respectively, to fund the design work for the $55 million High School
      proposal. In contrast to the Selectmen's discussion (see below) there
      was no mention of any effort to promote the use of absentee ballots for
      the election.

      ANNUAL TOWN MEETING- A number of draft warrant articles for ATM in
      April were reviewed, including one for a new car for the Superintendent
      and one for a new roof and windows for Happy Hollow. The administration
      attempted to draft an article for every possible expenditure, with
      final decisions to be made between now and December as to which items
      to actually go forward with.

      NEW SPORTS TEAM- The SC voted to establish a new Boy's Volleyball team
      in spite of the additional costs it will produce. Superintendent Gary
      Burton noted that the new team may pull kids from other sports.
      Chairman Lori Frieling asked if more sports are on the horizon. Burton
      replied that there are a number of possibilities. When the vote was
      taken only member Fred Knight questioned the extra cost, but he still
      eventually voted what he called a "grouchy aye".

      ENROLLMENT DROPPING- Official numbers for this year's school
      enrollments are now available. Total enrollment has dropped from 2966
      last year to 2924, even lower than the projected 2940. The High School,
      projected to be 914, is actually at 897. This is considerably lower
      than the numbers used to justify a critical immediate need for a new
      High School.

      Selectmen 10/4/04

      OPERATING OVERRIDE- Town Finance Director Bob Hilliard met with the
      Selectmen to discuss the need for overrides. There will be a currently
      estimated $1.2 million operating budget override needed for next fiscal
      year (starts in July) and the plan is to present it to the voters at
      the regular election in April. There was some agreement in the
      discussion that it would be better to split the operating override
      proposal from the High School override proposal so that voters would
      not be overwhelmed and motivated to choose one over the other.

      HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSAL- The Selectmen discussed the request from the SC
      to schedule the special election and Town Meeting in January. Selectman
      Brian O'Herlihy opined that the vote should be pushed out to April,
      even if it means pushing the project out a year, because the already
      planned use of modular classrooms and science labs will deal with the
      expected student population in 2007. He will not support a January
      vote. He also raised the possibility of holding the STM before the
      special election, to allow a forum for debate before the voters cast
      their ballots. Selectman Michael Tichnor stated his belief that timing
      necessitates a January vote; he was persuaded by the School Committee
      arguments regarding urgency. Selectman Doug Leard liked the idea of a
      STM first, but reserved judgement on the date. Selectman Bill Whitney
      supports a January vote. Chairman Betsy Connolly also supports a
      January vote, and likes the notion of a Special Town Meeting first.

      O'Herlihy raised the idea of encouraging participation in a January
      election, which would normally be low because of winter vacations and
      bad weather, by passing out information and possibly absentee ballot
      applications at the Presidential election next month. He also suggested
      an announcement in the tax bills, which will be mailed in time for the
      February 1 due date.


      The total town budget is currently in the neighborhood of $50 million,
      so a $1.2 million override would represent an approximately 2.5%
      increase. This will be in addition to the 2.5% which can be implemented
      without a citizen vote under Proposition 2 and 1/2, leading to a total
      budget increase of about 5%. This does NOT include the effects from a
      potential debt exclusion override vote likely in January for the High
      School proposal. The town budget has increased approximately 30% in the
      last five years, so a 5% increase will simply continue the trend,
      notwithstanding the fact that 5% is far higher than the rate of
      inflation in the last five years. Any spending on capital projects,
      most significantly the new High School proposal, will make this trend
      line even steeper. Unlike the Federal government, the Town must raise
      the money to support it's budget every year, meaning real estate taxes
      will rise at approximately the same rate as the budget.

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
      friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
      copy, they can send an email to waylandvoters2@... and they will
      be signed up for the listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by
      sending a blank email to waylandvotersnetwork-
      subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Click reply and send after receiving an e-
      mail confirming the subscription. Anyone who'd rather receive
      information from WVN by phone or regular mail should leave a message at
      (508) 358-9171.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Chair
      Michael Short, Treasurer
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