Yesterday's vote on the $16.9 million school bond was so overwhelming that the Board of Education ought to regard it as a verdict on their administration. Countless hours of presentations and expert testimony could only draw 1,508 votes in support, around 7 percent of the electorate.
Many people like me trust the BOE to run our school system efficiently and don't feel compelled to follow developments in detail, until they try something dramatic like spend way beyond their budget. Sixty percent of our property taxes, or $85.5 million, already goes towards funding our public schools, and Westfielders generally pass the school budget every year. But the bond issue was a huge step too far and revealed how out of touch the BOE is with Westfield voters.
One should hope for some greater humility and soul-searching within the BOE going forward. The message is to live within the current budget structure. Needed maintenance delayed for years and a poorly conceived bond proposal have exposed a board that is seriously off track. Many of us will be paying closer attention in the future.