More ridiculous budget cuts in Massachusetts at the local level. This time it’s schools, not libraries. According to the Boston Globe, Shoreham, MA has failed to approve a property tax override leading to the following educational budget cuts:
*shutting down the sixth-grade wing of the middle school and sending those students back to elementary school to save money.
*All athletic programs.
*Physical education classes.
*Elementary and middle school fine arts classes.
*Laying off an assistant high school principal.
And what’s behind this? Homeowners, particularly retirees:
Override opponents say high taxes are forcing many homeowners, especially seniors, out of this middle-class community of about 22,000. Some leading override opponents want to see the town manage its affairs more like a business, by consolidating some school and town administrative positions and outsourcing operations such as cafeteria service and custodial work.
It’s very odd: if a minority or immigrant family with a below-average income moves into a community, this is seen as a drain, but when someone retires, and voluntarily lowers his or her own income, this is not viewed as a drain. But from a budgetary perspective, it looks the same: land wealthy, income-poor property owners who can’t afford to support the well-paying jobs* and services that keep a community healthy.
There seems to have been a generational shift in attitudes. In my grandparents’ generation, it was assumed that once they retired, they would move into a smaller house or apartment because they weren’t working. For better or for worse (and this story highlights the worse), they thought that their standard of living shouldn’t be as high as when they were working (towards the end of their work careers anyway). Cutting education funding to subsidize their retirement would have been anathema to them.
Something has really gone wrong, and it’s not gay marriage….
*Outsourcing and job cuts will lower wages and increase unemployment. How does this help?