NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

November 21, 2013

Public accountability for public education

(Continued)

I share it with you now because I firmly believe that it should be public knowledge, especially if one believes in public accountability for public education and given the fact that with the current building projects, supported by the citizens of Newburyport, and the annual school budget, significant expenditures of taxpayers’ dollars are ongoing, so there must be public accountability, more so now than ever before. Such a deficit of $500,000, to which there will probably be more, must be discussed publicly for all to be made aware. Individuals have been convicted for misappropriation of lesser amounts of taxpayer money.

The behavior that has led to such a crisis can no longer be allowed to continue. We must hold accountable our elected officials and school administrators. The status quo, with all the recent turnover in school district officials, is a concern such that the School Committee should be required to maintain more of an oversight role in this crisis. Maintenance of a continuity of responsibility is essential to avoid further deficiencies. Our students deserve this.

More importantly to this end, I wish to take this opportunity to welcome all to future School Committee meetings to assure public accountability for public education. Painful as it is to attend, which those few who have attended regularly can attest, I believe there is a greater impact in numbers. Better yet, attend individual school councils, more on that topic soon in hopefully another article. In crises, such as these in municipal affairs, let us exert more influence. The sound of my one hand clapping needs to be converted to the roar of the applause of a crowd. Just do it!

My words and actions represent my own opinions; my family assumes no responsibility.

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Dr. Ralph Orlando lives in Newburyport.

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