Feb 102014

(This letter, from Vice Chair of the Groton Board of Selectmen Josh Degen, is in reply to an unsigned editorial published in The Groton Herald approximately 10 days ago. — Ed.)

Dear Editor,

Okay, folks, lets get something very clear: your Groton selectmen and FINCOM completely back our schools. The schools are not a drag nor did financing the new fire station within the levy limit create the financial hardship for the future school funding issues. The situation that our district finds itself in requires dissection to find the root cause of the problem. It seems like because some of us ask the why’s, when’s and who’s that we are against the schools.

This could not be further from the truth. If we are complicit in the creation of this crisis then we better be equally complicit in solving the problem. I am personally tired of throwing money at any fiscal crisis without understanding how we got there.

So when I ask the G-DRSC to show me the money I mean it. Show us all how we got here and propose corrective measures along with a strategic financial plan to solve the issues. Is this asking too much? Me thinks not. Please remember that if an override is proposed the levy limit gets raised permanently to that new level. Thus we all get taxed more each year; not just once to solve the problem.

The title of this thread was created in an editorial by one of the editors of The Groton Herald; I believe that to be Russ Harris. The editorial created the appearance of a rift with the Selectmen and FINCOM on one side, the GDRSD School Committee on the other side, with the children and parents stuck in the middle. This is far from the truth and irresponsible to foster such conjecture. At best he is polarizing the creation of divergent camps and at worst jeopardizing a collaborative solution to the problem.

The FINCOM and the selectmen are sitting down as I write this, scouring our municipal budget in order to trim any fat. In addition the fire station was proposed and approved for a funding mechanism within our levy limit and without a debt exclusion. Should we find a need to provide additional school funding requiring more cash than we have, we can ask for a vote at any point to exclude the approximate $475K annual payment via a debt exclusion.

No matter if you are an elected official, parents, senior citizens or empty nesters it is imperative that we seek and achieve a solution to this problem. Our district educates our children in top notch fashion. If we hope to continue this trend then we have a lot of work to get done.

Therefore, Mr. Harris, please think and ask the right questions before casting aspersions upon this community. We all thought that you too cared about our schools as much as we all do.

Josh Degen