Wednesday, June 2, 2010

la di da in la la land

I don’t imagine most Side readers follow what goes on in the Ostrich, so for your convenience, I’m posting a letter of ours they ran yesterday.  Kind of a 2 for 1 thing, OK?

Another year, another Brunswick budget cycle. $52 million and counting; officials oblivious to the pitter patter of large elephant feet, and a case study of why nations, states, and cities are in economic crisis destined for bankruptcy.

Hearings full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Sturm and drang over $42,000 for freshman sports and $50,000 in library funding. Wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over less than one quarter of one percent of the town’s annual spending.

A school department whose cost per year to educate a student has grown by 40 percent in the last five years with no dispute from responsible officials or the citizenry.


The shibboleth of “it’s for the children” disproved by a teacher’s union whose sole purpose is to ensure that “it’s for the adults.” A school board approving an open-ended teachers’ contract, helpless to manage and contain costs, and unwilling or unable to secure performance commitments.

Teachers earning guaranteed generous pay increases regardless of student performance, and steadfastly refusing policy changes that hold them accountable. One third of these teachers earning more for a week’s work than the chief of police or fire chief, and other senior managers of town operations.


In other words, belief in a free lunch, no matter how much it costs your friends and neighbors to pay for it. And declaration that while other cities, states and nations may have to face up to the laws of economics, we here in Brunswick do not. Even if we are losing 30 percent of our population and the economic advantage of their presence.

What the heck. Let’s just do what we always do, and what we’ve taught our children and grandchildren to do. Keep on spending, charge things to one account or another and trust that those who come after us will have a workable solution.

Such is life in the town of Brunswick, the home of Bowdoin College. Reality is for others elsewhere who are less fortunate, not for those who live in la-la land.

Bon-bons anyone?

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