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Vast array of citizens support a budget committee for Shaker

To the editor,
On March 8th, 2013, the citizens of Belmont and Canterbury will be asked to vote on Article II, an article submitted by petition, to establish a budget committee for the Shaker Regional School District. The petition was supported by a vast array of community members including several current and former school board members and district employees.
Currently, the superintendent and business administrator compile a preliminary school budget which then goes to the board's finance committee. The building principals and other administrators present to the finance committee, articulating their respective needs. The finance committee is comprised of three board members, the superintendent and business administrator. This committee and those who go before it have devoted a lot of time and energy at producing a budget, a budget that reflects the needs of the district and not necessarily the wants.
The entire board then has the opportunity to deliberate the proposed budget and make the necessary adjustments so that a budget that balances the needs of the schools with the communities' ability to pay is put forth to the voters. It seems simple enough, but despite the efforts of the board, it can be confusing to those not intimately involved in the process.
With a budget approaching the twenty-one million ($21,000,000) mark, doubling the amount of people involved with its development could help to create a better understanding of what is involved in running a district. It would foster greater transparency and provide a level of checks and balances in the development process that may not be present now. I believe that a budget committee would complement the current budget process by providing valuable oversight, which in turn will erase the many misperceptions that exist and increase voter confidence that their money is being spent wisely.
Richy Bryant
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