Monthly Archives: December, 2012

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: Happy New Year!

I want to send each of you my best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!

City Hall will close at 12 p.m. today and will reopen at 8:30 on Wednesday, January 2.

DPW
This is a red recycle week.
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning today. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, and lights before leaving the tree at the curb.
There will be no trash or recycling pickup on Tuesday, January 1, 2013, and all curbside pickups will be delayed by one day from the usual schedule for the remainder of the week.
Crews are continuing to clean up after the weekend storm.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
January 23, 10 a.m., Children’s Story Time registration. Parents may register by phone (781-665-2314) or in person. Story Time is for children ages 3 and 4 (must be 3 by Feb. 1) and includes songs, finger plays, and a craft and lasts approximately 45 minutes. For more information, check the library website or pick up a brochure at the library.
January 26, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., MPL Lego Construction Company. No registration necessary.
January 28, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Music, Movement, and Mother Goose, Children’s Room
January 29, 10:15 a.m., Rockin’ Babies and Boppin’ Toddlers (10:15-11 a.m., Boppin’ Toddlers, for children 9-18 months; 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m., Rockin’ Babies, for children 0-9 months)
January 29, 3-5 p.m., Paper Quilling for Children. Hands-on paper quilling workshop for third graders and up. Children will take home a finished project. Space is limited so please register in the Children’s Room beginning on January 7.
January 31, 3-4 p.m., Snack Pack Book Discussion Group for children in grades 4 and 5. Check at the Children’s Room for the book; snacks will be provided.

Events
January 11, 10 a.m., Kids Club, Memorial Hall

Meetings
January 9, 7:45 p.m., Board of Appeals, Aldermanic Chamber
January 14, 8 p.m., Planning Board, 160 Green St. Public Hearing

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: December 27, 2012

DPW
This is a green recycle week.
Trash and recycling pickups are delayed by one day because of the Christmas holiday.
Yard waste can be dropped off at 72 Tremont St. from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning Monday, December 31. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, and lights before leaving the tree at the curb.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
December 27, 2 p.m., MPL Snack Pack Vacation Week Special. Children in fourth and fifth grades are invited to drop in to discuss the book of the month. This month’s selection is The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, and a movie will be shown at this special event. Snacks will be served. Registration is not required and new members are always welcome.
December 29, 10 a.m., Lego Construction Club. Registration is not required; drop in and bring a friend!

Meetings
January 9, 7:45 p.m., Board of Appeals, Aldermanic Chamber
January 14, 8 p.m., Planning Board, 160 Green St. Public Hearing

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: Holiday Hours

City Hall will close at 12:30 on Friday and will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, December 26.

There will be no trash or recycling pickup on Tuesday, and all pickups will be delayed by one day for the rest of the week.

The City Yard will be open on Monday, December 24, from 7 to 11 a.m., closed on December 25, and open Wednesday through Friday during regular hours, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Merry Christmas!

DPW
This is a red recycle week.
Yard waste can be dropped off at 72 Tremont St. from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning Monday, December 31. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, and lights before leaving the tree at the curb.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, and will reopen at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26. The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
December 20, 7 p.m., MPL Book Group. The adult book club at the MPL will discuss John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas and watch a feature film based on the book. Bring a gaudy (or nice) ornament for a swap. Stop by the circulation desk or call 781-665-2313 to pick up a copy of the book.
December 27, 2 p.m., MPL Snack Pack Vacation Week Special. Children in fourth and fifth grades are invited to drop in to discuss the book of the month. This month’s selection is The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, and a movie will be shown at this special event. Snacks will be served. Registration is not required and new members are always welcome.
December 29, 10 a.m., Lego Construction Club. Registration is not required; drop in and bring a friend!

Meetings
December 20, 7:30 p.m., Conservation Commission, Mayor’s Conference Room
January 9, 7:45 p.m., Board of Appeals, Aldermanic Chamber

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

This week, I formally signed on to Boston Mayor Tom Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.

Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Menino are two of the nation’s true great Mayors. They believe fervently that due to the dysfunction in Washington, Mayors must rise up and lead this call for change on guns and other issues important to our citizens.

I had a conference call with representatives from the organization and agreed to sign a letter calling on President Barack Obama to put forward a strong agenda before Congress that would include

  • Requiring every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check;
  • Getting high-capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off the streets;
  • Making gun trafficking a federal crime.

In addition, we are asking the Obama administration to take steps directly to

  • Appoint a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which has not had a confirmed director for over six years;
  • Require federal agencies to report records to NICS;
  • Prosecute people who are banned from buying guns or ammunition but attempt to do so anyway;
  • Repeal the remaining Tiahrt restrictions, which limit access to federal gun data.

I signed off on the letter and will be working with the group to help coordinate communications in Massachusetts. Mayor Menino and Mayor Bloomberg feel it is important to have Mayors of cities like Melrose on board since Newtown is very similar to Melrose. This is not just an urban, “big city” issue but an issue for all American cities.

A copy of the full letter is below.

Continue reading →

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: Go Green for the Holidays

If you’re interested in helping Melrose do a better job of recycling, stop by the Recycling Committee’s meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Melrose Public Library. And be sure to check out our recycling coordinator Jesse Schmitt’s tips on reducing waste over the holidays.

DPW
This is a red recycle week.
Yard waste can be dropped off at 72 Tremont St. from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning Monday, December 31. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, and lights before leaving the tree at the curb.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, and will reopen at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26. The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
December 20, 7 p.m., MPL Book Group. The adult book club at the MPL will discuss John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas and watch a feature film based on the book. Bring a gaudy (or nice) ornament for a swap. Stop by the circulation desk or call 781-665-2313 to pick up a copy of the book.
December 27, 2 p.m., MPL Snack Pack Vacation Week Special. Children in fourth and fifth grades are invited to drop in to discuss the book of the month. This month’s selection is The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, and a movie will be shown at this special event. Snacks will be served. Registration is not required and new members are always welcome.
December 29, 10 a.m., Lego Construction Club. Registration is not required; drop in and bring a friend!

Meetings
December 19, 7 p.m., Recycling Committee, Melrose Public Library
December 20, 9:30 a.m., Council on Aging, Milano Senior Center
December 20, 7:30 p.m., Conservation Commission, Mayor’s Conference Room
January 9, 7:45 p.m., Board of Appeals, Aldermanic Chamber

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: December 18, 2012

DPW
This is a red recycle week.
Yard waste can be dropped off at 72 Tremont St. from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning Monday, December 31. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, plastic bags, and lights before leaving the tree at the curb.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, and will reopen at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26. The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
December 20, 7 p.m., MPL Book Group. The adult book club at the MPL will discuss John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas and watch a feature film based on the book. Bring a gaudy (or nice) ornament for a swap. Stop by the circulation desk or call 781-665-2313 to pick up a copy of the book.
December 27, 2 p.m., MPL Snack Pack Vacation Week Special. Children in fourth and fifth grades are invited to drop in to discuss the book of the month. This month’s selection is The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, and a movie will be shown at this special event. Snacks will be served. Registration is not required and new members are always welcome.
December 29, 10 a.m., Lego Construction Club. Registration is not required; drop in and bring a friend!

Milano Senior Center
Holiday Hours: The Milano Senior Center will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25.
December 18, 12-2 p.m., Special Holiday Lunch, featuring a special holiday meal and entertainment by the Melrose High School Chorus Group. A $1 donation is requested. Call 781-662-6886 to make a reservation.

Meetings
December 20, 9:30 a.m., Council on Aging, Milano Senior Center
December 17, 7:45 p.m., Board of Aldermen, Aldermanic Chamber

Letter to Parents

Here is the text of a letter that was sent to the families of all Melrose Public Schools students.

December 17, 2012

Dear Parents,

We know you share our shock and deep sadness regarding the events that unfolded this weekend in Newtown, Connecticut. In many ways, Newtown looks very similar to Melrose: Small neighborhood schools, a close, tight-knit community, and an environment where people feel safe every day. It is fair to say that they will never, as a community, completely recover from this tragic event, and I think it is fair to say that the nation shares in their grief and pain.

However, it is important for you to know first and foremost that every employee, every administrator that is employed by the City of Melrose, has dedicated their professional life to helping ensure that people are safe, be it children, the elderly, or people in our business districts and our neighborhoods. Every employee of the City of Melrose plays a role in enhancing safety and quality of life for all individuals.

Please be assured that on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, we train, prepare for, and review policies and procedures and action plans, to ensure, in the case of any emergency, that we are ready to address it in the best possible way. Although we review continuously, this morning we started the day by coming together to take a different look at how we ensure safety for every child that you drop off to go to class or to a sporting event, a fine arts concert, or an afterschool program. We consider those children our children and prepare for their safety as you would prepare in your own home.

Some examples of our preparedness:

  1. The Melrose Fire Department and the Captain dedicated to school safety evaluate and make necessary adjustments to evacuation plans at all schools, including outside gathering places and dealing with the needs of disabled or special education students. They work closely with the principal of each school. Each party signs off on the evacuation plans, and these plans are practiced during the school year, with children and teachers.
  2. Our Police Department is trained to deal with emergency situations involving our schools and children. They work as part of consortium of law enforcement agencies, Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), which is the regional emergency response team that supports local police departments in situations such as school threats, missing children, or violent incidents. There is a response team of NEMLEC, called School Threat Assessment Response System (STARS), which is specifically dedicated to working with local school districts during emergency situations. It is important to know they are not simply called during these emergencies but train year round and constantly evaluate best practices throughout the region to ensure they are ready for any contingency. Our police department works very closely with them, and our Chief is the Assistant Control Chief to NEMLEC STARS.
  3. Our Health Department is trained to deal with emergencies that may include contamination, medical crises, or infection.
  4. Communication systems have been set up over previous years, from Connect Ed to Code Red to use of public access television, to provide ongoing, up-to-date information to parents and caregivers, as well as the community as a whole.
  5. Our Police Department and Fire Department work with the School Department to prepare lockdown drills, which are practiced yearly in our schools.
  6. Buzzer systems with video monitors are active and in place in all of our schools.
  7. Identification badges are given to all personnel, and visitors are asked to sign in and out when they enter a school.
  8. Additional plans are developed for students with disabilities that may need special attention in any situation.
  9. Classroom educators participate in drills with their students.

I think we all must acknowledge that today begins a new day in how we look at safety and procedures regarding our schools, no different than after September 11 or Columbine. It is unfortunate but true that tragic events such as these emphasize how important it is for every employee and every parent to follow and administer policies and procedures that make us safer. You are our most important partners in ensuring school safety. We are continuing to dedicate our lives to making sure that you and your family are safe. These are very difficult times for our country, but we feel confident that as we continue to be vigilant, and continue our strong training and preparedness, Melrose will remain the safe community it is today.

Thank you for your continued support.

Robert J. Dolan, Mayor
Cyndy Taymore, Superintendent of Schools
Fire Chief Christopher Leary
Police Chief Michael Lyle

Please take a moment to help us improve your experience with City services. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MelroseCustomerSurvey ­­

Statement from Superintendent of Schools Cyndy Taymore

Here is a statement from Superintendent of Schools Cyndy Taymore regarding the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut.

Dear Melrose Families and Community,

As we struggle with understanding this shocking and inexplicable tragedy in Connecticut, we know that you are also grappling with how to answer any questions and fears your children may have. I am including in this email comments prepared by Janet Yedniak, Director of Social Workers for the Andover Public Schools. This guidance has been shared with school administrators to help us assist our children. Please use them if you find them helpful.

On Monday we will have mental health professionals at each elementary school to support families, students, and staff. At the middle and high schools, guidance counselors will provide support. Teachers will take the lead with any child who is nervous or upset as they are the adults the students know best. The mental health professionals will provide additional help to students as needed.

Teachers will not bring this up for discussion in class. If it is brought up by children, we will respond according to the child’s age and ability to understand. We want to acknowledge students’ concerns, comfort them and assure them that they are safe, yet be careful not to exacerbate their fears.

Additionally, if you have any specific concerns about your child’s return to school, please let the principal know beforehand so we can be prepared to help him/her.

Lastly, we know that, while your primary concern is our children, this also raises anxiety for you as parents, caretakers, and members of the community. Please take care of yourselves during this difficult time.

If we can assist you as well as our children, please let us know.

Sincerely,
Cyndy

Cyndy Taymore
Superintendent
Melrose Public Schools
781-979-2294
781-979-2149 (fax)

For Young Children:

All young children are negatively impacted by multiple viewings of scary events, or by relentless news coverage of those events. With young children, it is usually most helpful to find out what their questions are, rather than trying to anticipate yourself what it is that they need to know. If they do ask, it would be helpful to downplay the setting that this event happened in, and simply say that someone hurt some people in another place, and that everyone feels sad for the people who were hurt. Depending on what your child has heard, you may need to gradually step out more information, and it certainly is helpful to respond truthfully to your child’s questions, but remember that you do not have to give more information than your child is asking for.

Emphasize that they are safe and that you love them. If they are aware that the shooting took place in a school, remind them that we have all kinds of ways that we all work to keep our school buildings safe, including locks on the doors, and adults who are there to take care of us. It’s fine to tell them you don’t know, if they ask you questions about why this happened, or what was wrong with the person who did the bad thing. It is helpful to remember that you may have different feelings about, or interest in, this event, than your children do. Try to keep your own feelings distinct from your child’s, as they may not be interested in a lengthy conversation about this, and will be satisfied with a brief reassurance. It is in the nature of childhood that youngsters often choose to think about other things when they are overwhelmed by a piece of information, and may be happy to talk about something else or engage in some activity that they find calming or enjoyable. If your individual child persists in asking questions, try to ascertain what it is that they are really wondering about. If their primary fear is that something like this might happen to them or someone that they know, you could ask them, “If you were in that situation, what do you think you might do to keep yourself safe?”

If your child over the next several days seems particularly troubled or persists in questioning you about it, we would encourage you to contact your child’s teacher and let them know.

Older youngsters and teenagers:

With older children, events in the news often represent teachable moments for families. If you feel that your individual child would appreciate this conversation, it is fine to ask them whether there have been conversations among their friends about this tragedy. What does everyone think about this? Asking what their friends think is often a helpful conversation starter with adolescents. This is a good opportunity to model your own values in processing this incredibly sad event.

Since we are always trying to maximize the development of empathy in our young people, it is helpful to keep the focus on the people who were negatively impacted by this senseless violence. If your youngster wants to focus on the perpetrator of the violence, you may want to redirect the conversation to the families who were affected by the violence. It is important to recognize that we really do not know what motivated this act, and to acknowledge with our older children that people always struggle to understand why bad things happen in the world.

As parents, we can deliver a helpful and empowering message to our youngsters that as individuals, we can try to balance out the negative things that happen in the world by being forces for good, both in our communities and in the world at large.

Similarly, while it is human nature to try to impose some sense on the event through speculation about the perpetrator, you can caution your youngster that the really important thing here is that some families who were impacted are in a tremendous amount of pain right now, and that they all have our sympathy. As with younger children, it is helpful to ask questions to ascertain what they are thinking about, what their questions are, and how do they feel affected by this.

The Mayor’s Morning Briefing: December 13, 2012

DPW
This is a green recycle week.
Yard Waste is being picked up curbside on resident’s regular trash day. This is the last yard waste curbside pick-up of the season.

Library
Food for Fines: During the month of December, please help A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry by returning your overdue items along with a nonperishable donation and your fines will be forgiven.
Holiday Hours: The library will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, and will reopen at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26. The library will close at 1 p.m. Monday, December 31, and will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s Day.
December 13, 3 p.m., Cocoa House Book Club for middle schoolers. This month’s selection is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. The book is available at the main desk for check-out. Drinks and goodies will be served. For more information, call 781-66-2313 and ask for Shelley O’Brien.
December 13, 5:30 p.m., Teen Advisory Group. All high school teens are invited to contribute their ideas and suggestions for programs they would like to see at the library. Pizza will be served. For more information, call 781-66-2313 and ask for Shelley O’Brien.
December 14, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time Drop-in Program for children ages 18-36 months in the company of an adult. No registration required; just drop in.
December 17, 6:30 p.m., Music, Movement and Mother Goose, a family bedtime concert featuring music specialist Dara VanRemoortel. Children are encouraged to come in their PJs. No registration required.
December 20, 7 p.m., MPL Book Group. The adult book club at the MPL will discuss John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas and watch a feature film based on the book. Bring a gaudy (or nice) ornament for a swap. Stop by the circulation desk or call 781-665-2313 to pick up a copy of the book.
December 27, 2 p.m., MPL Snack Pack Vacation Week Special. Children in fourth and fifth grades are invited to drop in to discuss the book of the month. This month’s selection is The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, and a movie will be shown at this special event. Snacks will be served. Registration is not required and new members are always welcome.
December 29, 10 a.m., Lego Construction Club. Registration is not required; drop in and bring a friend!

Milano Senior Center
Holiday Hours: The Milano Senior Center will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25.
December 13, 1-4 p.m., Be a Santa to a Senior Gift Wrapping Event, Milano Senior Center. No need to bring a gift. Refreshments will be served. Call 781-662-6886 to sign up.
December 18, 12-2 p.m., Special Holiday Lunch, featuring a special holiday meal and entertainment by the Melrose High School Chorus Group. A $1 donation is requested. Call 781-662-6886 to make a reservation.

Upcoming Events
December 14, 10 a.m., Kids Club, featuring Kizfun, Memorial Hall

Meetings
December 13, 6 p.m., Memorial Hall Board of Trustees, Memorial Hall
December 13, 7 p.m., Park Commission, Mount Hood Clubhouse
December 17, 7:45 p.m., Planning Board, Mayor’s Conference Room
December 20, 9:30 a.m., Council on Aging, Milano Senior Center
December 17, 7:45 p.m., Board of Aldermen, Aldermanic Chamber

My Take on Midyear Reductions

Last week the governor announced that the state currently faces a $540 million shortfall in Fiscal Year 2013. He is seeking permission from the legislature to make $225 million in program cuts, using his 9C budget powers. Within those amounts, $28.75 million in cuts are being proposed as reductions to municipal and public education accounts.

As a mayor, I understand that when a new budget goes into effect on July 1, that budget is a living and breathing document that adjusts both positively and negatively by the month and sometimes by the week. If budgets were perfect, there would be no need for managers.

In the past, when the state has seen returns that were better than expected, the governor and the legislature have been generous in redistributing some of those dollars back to cities and towns. It is only fair in challenging times that cities and towns accept their share of reductions to promote the greater good, which is a fiscally strong commonwealth.

The question, in my opinion, is not whether we should reduce but how that reduction should be made and how it should be articulated to the public.

The governor is proposing a reduction in non-education aid accounts. But it should be clear that doesn’t mean educational services aren’t seeing reductions.

There are two parts of this reduction. The first cut of 1% to non-education funding is about $50,000 for the city of Melrose. That seems fair and proportional, based upon the size of the community and the amount of local aid we receive. The problem I have pertains to other reductions in municipal accounts. I will share with you some of those accounts I am concerned about and why these cuts create an even more burdensome unfunded mandate on cities and towns. These cuts lessen the partnerships that have been formed between state and local government and pass the buck onto taxpayers, ratepayers, and those who use our educational services.

The first is the MWRA debt relief fund. If you followed the water and sewer rate stories in Melrose, you know the MWRA assesses the City of Melrose, and the City in turn bills ratepayers. The largest driving force in increasing rates is the MWRA’s debt burden, which as a percentage of its total budget is outrageous. By reducing the contribution to that debt burden, the state simply passes the buck to local cities and towns and ratepayers. That doesn’t solve any problem; it simply exacerbates people’s feelings toward the MWRA and decreases much needed investment in infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth.

The second is the special education circuit breaker program. Cuts in this program will result in reduction in aid of $40,000. The circuit breaker was created to offset extreme costs for students who require specialized services. Services to one individual might cost over $100,000. We have a legal and moral obligation to provide for these citizens. The fact that the state would then reduce that particular line item with no adjustment in requirements hurts all public school students, regular ed or special ed, and creates further divisions between the district and the parents and students who are entitled to these services.

These types of reductions are also seen in the 9C cuts in veterans benefit reimbursements (which in Melrose are skyrocketing with the return of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq), school based health programs, pre-kindergarten program, and homeless school transportation accounts.

The last reduction is something that has been quite controversial over the years: Charter school reimbursement. The controversy does not come in my opinion with the creation of charter schools, for in Melrose we have fostered a very positive relationship with the Mystic Valley Charter School and have worked with them on many issues. The issue has always been the disproportionate amount of funding taken from the district compared to the average per pupil spending on children within the traditional public school setting. The governor is proposing cuts in charter school reimbursement.
Although there is a reduction in reimbursement, there is not a reduction in the assessment we must pay. That only exacerbates a statewide issue that divides families and divides community. This is not the direction we want to go.

If the state has to reduce local aid, the right approach is to provide us with a dollar figure and allow the local officials to make the decisions themselves. Local government is where the rubber hits the road. As managers, we know which areas we can reduce with the least impact on direct services to citizens and students. None of it is easy, but our jobs aren¹t easy. We are, however, the most knowledgeable, and we have the most accountability and direct contact with our constituents.

Setting up state accounts to help individual subgroups such as veterans, special education students, charter schools, and homeless students, and then taking that money away mid-year, is bad policy. It is unfair to the most challenged in our population and divides the community. The state needs to take an honest and open approach as to what they are reducing and its effects on municipalities. State leaders must work with their partners in local government to reduce costs and maintain expectations, which should always be high.

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