As a resident of Bristol in your district, a voting taxpayer and a former school board member, I want you to vote in favor of the budget request presented by the BOE. That is, I want your approval for the fully funded budget to the level of the $105 million request made by the Board of Education.
And Cockayne's response the next day, which he shared with the other Republican council members:
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately I will not be supporting the full budget. I believe the BOE must do a much better job managing the money. I believe the BOE is very top heavy with Administration and the money does not make it to the teachers and students. I also have a problem with the Minimum Balance Requirement. Any increase we give the BOE will now be the new minimum for the following year.
I also don't believe some on the BOE are being truthful with the parents. For example....I was at the Feb 14th meeting for a bit before I had to go to City hall for a meeting of my own. During that meeting, the BOE when through a presentation explaining why they were cutting band and choirs...( my son who is in 6th grade is in both). The presentation when on to explain that it was not about the money but that the curriculum was changing, doing away with flex and making each period a bit longer. However, a few weeks later after pressure from the parents, the BOE now said if the city gave them the money they would put back the music and choirs. When I asked point blank to a BOE member why they would tell the parent this since I was at the Feb 14th meeting, they could not answer the question. So I ask......are they changing the curriculum or is it about money?
Yet another example....The BOE has told the lacrosse parents if the city gives them the money... I believe its about 50k... they will put in Lacrosse. So again, I asked a BOE member (veteran member) if I make a motion to increase whatever the number is for BOE by the amount lacrosse needs will they put in Lacrosse as was stated at the BOE meeting to the parents. I was told in no uncertain terms NO! Again, when I asked why then are they telling parents one thing at the BOE meeting and have intention of following through. The answer I received was this is not the place to talk about it!
The BOE has also said publicly they cannot take another flat budget....how quickly they forgot about the extra 2.5 million dollars the city was forced to give them last year.
Hopefully you can see why I will not fund the BOE in full. In my opinion some on the BOE can not be trusted to do as they has said they would do. The BOE needs to do as many households have had to do and thats tighten the belt and start managing the buget. The city can no longer be a open checkbook.
This is nothing I take lightly. I have a son who is currently in 6th grade at Chippens. I'm also engaged to a teacher..not Bristol...so I see first hand what the teachers are dealing with.
Please feel free to call with any questions.