This was an important practical and symbolic step in the direction of taking back our School Board and making it accountable.
I am very proud of the work that so many people did in preparation for this meeting. Some of us wrote letters to the editor. Others assembled a mailing. Others coordinated taking an ad out in the local paper. Most important, numerous residents made extraordinary effort to talk to their neighbors and fellow citizens personally about the issues at stake and to emphasize the importance of voting. (I see it as grass roots local politics at its best)
I’m extremely proud of our School Board chair, Sharal Plumley, who courageously stood up and said that in good conscience, she could not support a program that allowed some families to get their tuition subsidized, when so many other families over the years have had to pay out of their own pockets.
I’m proud of Lindsay King, my neighbor, who took the floor and recounted how he had been a special needs child and that the school had tried to get his parents to pay for him to go to another school and asked why now one family expects–and receives–a subsidy.
I’m proud of Roger Brisson, who described to the assembly how he had been a gifted and talented child, but that his parents took responsibility for paying to send him to a different school to meet his gifted and talented needs. I’m proud of Lori Cantin, who pointed out that the Guildhall Elementary School has the resources, talent and ability to meet program needs right here at home.
And I’m appreciative of Teri Anderson, who had the wisdom and the insight to know when there had been enough debate, and took action to call the question and vote.
All those who spoke in favor of rescission were well-spoken, civil and respectful. There were no personal attacks by those of us opposed to the gifted and talented article. This civility and respect shows that the recent community outrage about the gifted and talented “entitlement” is no personal vendetta, but rather a deep-seated belief that programs supported by taxpayer funds should be implemented fairly, according to one consistent set of rules for everyone, with no special treatment for anyone.
Finally, I believe the vote demonstrates that most taxpayers and citizens are unwilling to tolerate local officials who use their office to seek personal gain.
Congratulations to everyone. Well done.