Westfield Voters Send a Clear Message

Westfield School Bond

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.

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Time For Change September 25, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Mr Lackey, I actually think that we want the BOE to be provocative and bring to the community new ideas and tackle the challenges that we have--a need for infrastructure improvements and investment in the future, whether it be for new fields or technology or anything else. I think that it is wonderful that so many people came out to vote YET we still saw less than a 3rd of people who could vote, do so. That is disappointing. I imagine that this Board will not be deterred and will come back with a plan to get the roofs fixed and still be able to invest in the other areas that need to be enhanced. Hopefully these 9 VOLUNTEERS will not let the nastiness thrown their way impact what they have signed up to do. There are clearly no takers out there for their seats--because it is much easier for us to all complain than to step up and take a seat on that Board.
aclarke3 September 25, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Name calling is childish and really not very clever. Math is a difficult subject for some and perhaps everyone can't grasp the simple economics surrounding a $16.9m bond referendum. Bundling is a DC'esque approach and whether local, state of federal government is involved taxpayers deserve a true up or down choice on individual issues. "Provocative" is a very kind description in this instance.
Elizabeth Alterman September 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
While we appreciate the comments, we ask users to focus on the issue at hand and refrain from personal attacks. Thank you.
Not Time For This Kind Of Change September 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM
@Time For Change Enough already with the emphasis on VOLUNTEERS. Nobody twisted their arms to run for a seat on the board. They did so willingly. If everytime the heat is on and people want to protect the VOLUNTEERS, well then dont run for the job.
A.John Blake September 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM
T.F.C., No one attacks the members of the Board on a personal level. The fact that they are VOLUNTEERS does not grant them immunity from error.They elected to try to use a bond issue to accomplish the repairs they refused to do over the years. This was , at a minimum, an evasion of the ban on floating bonds to make repairs. They elected to bundle the issues and to to put the election on a separate day where there is historically a lower turnout. There was nothing in this presentation that did not have the tinge of an orchestrated political maneuver . What about the VOLUNTEERS practicing the transparency and candidness by which they all promised to conduct themselves. How about the notion that they are representative of the voters. They made some bad decisions. They are human and it is to be expected. That does not make them bad people. It does not detract from their volunteerism. It is ,however, a signal from the people they represent that they should work within their budget, make the repairs necessary within the budget, and begin to tell the unions that the voters are not able, at present, to continue the largesse previously experienced. A.John Blake


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