WHAT’S SO HARD FOR THE PITTSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE TO SEE? or THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE … MEANWHILE, SCHOOL DEPT. VULTURES IN LENOX, LEE FOLLOW SUIT, SWOOPING DOWN TO STEAL MORE TAXPAYER $$
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16, 2013) — How far out of tough is the Pittsfield School Depeartment? Before THE PLANET answers that question, let us clarify that by “School Department” we include administration, School Committee (the Frozen Chozen), and the United Educators of Pittsfield.
How far out of touch? Consider a few numbers. These numbers are not opinions or emotions. They aren’t feelings or any other subjective numerator. Data is neutral. When something is spoken, it’s the facts, speaking for themselves.
Student population: approximately 12,000
Number of teachers: about 300
Number of administrators and support staff: About 40
Budget: About $42,000,000
Student population: About 6,000
Number of teachers/instructional staff: 750 (the actual number from the revised 2013FY budget is 749.30 … don’t ask what the .30 means)
Number of Administrators and support staff: About 180
Budget: More than $90,000,000 (included cost of health insurance, school maintenance, and transportation).
Notice that the number of administrators has increased by five-fold, with half the number of students. Un-bee-lee-va-bull!!
Another number to keep in mind is the city of Pittsfield’s population, which has decreased from nearly 60,000 to about 40,000, or a drop of one-third. Moreover, in this time, the tax base of the city has shrunk by between 40 and 50%. The number of people on welfare of some sort has probably tripled in that time.
Despite all this, year after year, the city of Pittsfield continues to grow government. Taxes continues to rise for both homeowners and businesspeople, the cost of government goes up yearly by millions, and the school department — powered by an utterly incompetent school committee — keeps handing out money to teachers and administrators like they were giving out popcorn balls on Halloween.
Can you see the problem? If you’re Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, you see it only too clearly. At the head of the list of porkers is the PSD. Despite the shrinking population of the city, despite the shrinking number of students, despite the shrinking tax base, and despite its own misuse and abuse of fistfuls of dollars, the PSD keeps coming back for more, with its sob stories of “The Children,” and if it only had more money, we would usher in a new era of bliss.
THE PLANET has just given you the clues to determine THE singlemost important issue in Campaign 2013 in Pittsfield: The Budget. Every other issue stems from the fact that taxpayers have lost control of the budget due to the actions of a phat phew, who do the bidding of an even phatter phew. Apathy is the GOB’s main weapon. As long as We The People stay away from the polls, they can control the outcomes.
Pittsfield needs a new type of candidate. This “new type” would not be a member of the GOB but know it thoroughly. He or she would be independently financed, to equal out the dollar discrepancies that have made alternative candidates in the past little more than tokens. He or she would be well organized throughout each of the 14 precincts. This person would be a dynamic speaker and a riveting presence, a truth-teller whose performance on the stump would generate excitement, enthusiasm, and involvement of new blood in city politics. He or she would have a varied background in a number of fields, including business experience and a knowledge of economics. If this person were able to generate a double-digit increase in voter turnout, and we believe this is realistic, this person would win.
LENOXOLOGY & OTHER ABSURDITIES
To make a long and boring story short and boring (there is no other way when discussing the Land of the Millionaires), the Town of Lenox has reviewed its finances. After town manager Greg Federspiel‘s presentation on anticipated revenues and expenses, the Great Minds have determined there will about $300,000 in new bucks available to the town this year.
That’s all well and good, but don’t start celebrating yet, Mary Jane and Joe.
On cue, like a vulture lifting off of its perch as the poor bastard takes his “raffling last breath, with deep-sea dover sounds” on the desert floor, the Lenox school Committee swooped down to feast on the corpse. It went for the eyes first. It did so in the form of school committee chairman Don Fitzgerald. He laid his bear-greased paws on $186,000 of it. That’s about 62% of the money.
MORAL OF THE STORY: PUBLIC EDUCATION THE LAND OVER IS BROKEN. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THE STICK-UP FOR “THE CHILDREN” in public schools DO NOT HAVE KIDS IN THE SYSTEM. Talk about poor bastards.
Sixty-two percent of the stinking money, before Lenox Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski can even begin to think of a penny to fall their way off the table.
Oh, but wait!! There’s more!!
This just in: The school department also gets another $14,000 due to Medicaid increase. That brings in the vultures’ haul to $200,000 of the $300,000, or 67%. That’s more like it, as it gets Lenox into a more Pittsfieldian figure (in Pittsfield, taxpaying suckers get soaked for more than 70% of every red and blue cent the city takes in, forfeiting that much to “The Children”). Another way of saying it: Don Fitzgerald is Lenox’s Alf Barbalunga.
Meanwhile, chairwoman of the Lenox Finance Committee, Lucy “In the Sky with Dollar Signs” Kennedy, told the town Big Shots that long-term forecasting is a good thing. Lucy told onlookers, with Federspiel mouthing the words, the extra good news: the unfunded liabilities that taxpayers must assume for public employees has from from 10% of the town’s budget to more than 20%.
“Everyone on the school committee finance subcommittee is onboard with this,” thus spake Jo Ann Magee of the school committee and bunko squad. We bet they are, Jo-Jo. We just bet they are.
“Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!”
Meanwhile, in the Town of Lee, the school department there wants $120,720 in extra spending for the upcoming school year. The figure doesn’t — REPEAT, DOES NOT — include capital spending. Unlike Lenox, the bad news was delivered not by the school committee chair but by the superintendent, who happens to be Jason McCandless.
The Super had all sorts of excuses for the extra money Lee taxpayers have to cough up and forego — new textbooks, new computers, new this, new that.
The Lee School Committee will meet on Jan. 22 to talk money.
Gimme, gimme, gimme, the greedy bastards sing in chorus.
What, you expected someone to be “for us?”
So continnue with your shameless play for our money, you bastards,
And while you speak, make sure you bore us.
“NULLI SAPERE CASU OBTIGIT.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.