Letter: Finance Committee should support Concord school budget

March 30, 2023

I am deeply disappointed by the Finance Committee’s recent decision to vote against supporting the proposed Concord Public Schools budget, instead recommending an outright cut of over $600,000 in crucial educational services and staffing that will directly impact K-8 students and families who have chosen Concord for its commitment to excellent education.

Some on the finance committee have argued that the town’s vote to support additional middle school budget last month means that they cannot support this budget proposal because the combined costs are too high. This argument is both misleading and irresponsible. These are separate and unrelated issues, and this flawed reasoning unjustly punishes our children and educators.

Dr. Hunter and her team have developed a transparent “level services” budget, revealing that due to inflation, costs to maintain the same level of service have risen. Simply put, there is no “fat” in this budget left to trim.

While some have characterized this modest 4.7% increase as too high, in fact the current CPS budget proposal represents the lowest percentage of overall town spending since at least 2006 when the town began publishing these numbers online. In other words, we are spending less of our resources on our school system, as a percentage of the total, than we have in close to 20 years. This trend, combined with the serious challenges our children are facing, contradicts our town’s long-standing dedication to education and makes the Finance Committee recommendation seem even more out of touch.

I urge the Finance Committee to reconsider their position and support the proposed CPS budget. I also encourage town citizens to attend the town meeting on April 30 and remind the Finance Committee and our elected officials of the importance of education in our community.

Jeff Suarez

Oxbow Road