by Mareta Hamre, RTM District 10, Education Delegate
At the June RTM meeting Monday, the 230 RTM members and many non-members from the public spent hours debating the Sense of the Meeting Resolution about the BET cuts to the Education budget. All but one of the non-RTM members spoke against the cuts, reflecting the public outcry that has occurred in a petition (signed by roughly 3000 people), a drive-by protest at town hall, and hundreds of emails to RTM members.
After hours of debate, 88 of the RTM members voted to insist that, instead of voting on the matter, we come back for another meeting with further debate in September. This was because of an ill-thought-out procedural rule added last year regarding items brought to the RTM by petition, a rule that has been waived multiple times for other similar matters (including just a month ago).
The 88 members have no sincere desire for further debate on this issue. They just did not want to vote on the merits of the issue before them: restoring funding for education. It makes me wonder: why would they NOT want to vote on the merits of the issue, after having voiced strong opinions about it at the meeting? Do they think hiding behind a procedural vote obscures the fact that their position on the merits is out of touch with what the public wants?
In any event, this issue will come back before the RTM in September, when our teachers will be attempting to educate students in an entirely new way with fewer dollars — essentially having to make more bricks with less straw. A minority of the RTM insisted that we have further debate on this issue, so we will indeed have it in September. Stay tuned.