An Open Letter from Mayor Frank Huttle III to the Residents and Taxpayers of Englewood
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20th is a very important election day for our City. You will be asked to vote on the proposed school budget for the coming year and, as well, vote for school board members. As your Mayor — and an experienced business attorney and Certified Public Accountant — I’ve looked at the information presented and the options available. It’s both my professional and civic duty to advise Englewood citizens to vote NO on the budget and return the budget back to the City for reformulation and to get it right. Furthermore, I will be voting for Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison — the only two incumbent Board Members who had the good judgment to vote no on the Budget — and Enrique Diaz, their running mate.
Why I am Voting no on the Budget?
The School Budget as approved by the Board contains an increase in the school tax levy of 4.82% over last year’s budget. An increase of this size is certainly troubling; however, what is more troubling is the “process” that led to the formulation of this budget. The budget provided to the public on the eve of the public hearings provided limited details of the $63 million budget. I’ve learned a couple of valuable lessons about information and decision making:
1) Inadequate information leads to bad decisions.
2) Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable and real ones aren’t.
But how can you tell the difference between real and imaginary when you lack sufficient real information?
There are millions of dollars of “cushions” buried in this budget that do not go to classroom education. In the face of teacher layoffs, this budget proposes millions of dollars to construct an administration building instead of using existing facilities. Faced with massive state cuts in education, is this the time for a $3.5 million capital expansion program at the expense of our children?
There is another $6.8 million that is not in the Budget that the School will receive from the City this year as a result of the Board of Education having sold its school buildings several years ago. When this money is paid, it can help save teachers’ jobs, pay expenses and reduce the tax levy. Our children come first, and with $6.8 million of cash available, we need to get it right and get it done now.
I believe that the proponents to the Budget are not effectively serving the students. I believe that we must pause, re-evaluate and produce good information so we can do right by our children.
For these reasons, I am recommending that you join me in rejecting the proposed school board budget on April 20th. This gives us and the City an opportunity to get it right. This will be a win-win for our children.
An informed vote is vital. While I will be voting for Stephen Brown, Glenn Garrison and Enrique Diaz on Tuesday, I invite you to click here to go the Englewood One Community website for a look at each of the candidates’ platforms as reported by the Suburbanite.
We too often feel helpless in making government serve us. In this case, the quality and value you get from our City are in your hands!
Best regards, and Vote on this Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
Mayor Frank Huttle III