Tonight, a group of us met with Monitors Chuck Szuberla and John Sipple for nearly two hours, asking tons of questions and, one by one, declaring our strong opposition for “budget blackmail,” created without consultation of public school advocates and without sensitivity to the historic distrust in the community. We rejected the argument that this “deal” could create more opportunities for public school students in 2018-19, since nothing is guaranteed in future years and trust is in short supply in Spring Valley. We demanded and were promised a list of what mandated services still aren’t being provided to public school students, what a contingency budget would prioritize cutting, and what bus runs would be financed. We concluded the meeting by telling the monitors that they and the Commissioner are not serving the people they were assigned to protect.
The folks who attended our strategy meeting afterward almost unanimously said they cannot bring themselves to support a budget created behind closed doors that restores all non-mandated private school busing while leaving public school students without full restoration of services. If this budget fails, Dr. Wortham could technically put a second budget up for a vote before going to contingency, which we intend to request. Monday night’s budget hearing (please arrive at 7 p.m. at 105 S. Madison) is going to be intense.