I wish to commend the RSU 4 Board of Directors for finding a way to save the towns of Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales $230,000. They did this by passing a motion to privatize busing for the three towns for the upcoming school year.
In the proposed budget report we received, Superintendent James Hodgkins stated, "This will result in the elimination of 22 bus drivers." While this statement is true financially, the board conscientiously created the Request for Pricing with the stipulation that current bus drivers be offered employment with the winning bidder. The savings the towns will see from privatization is from those 22 positions and their benefit packages.
Our bus drivers receive full-time benefits for transporting our children 20-25 hours per week. That is a very generous benefits package.
I know the board's decision was difficult. In fact, directors voted on the matter twice. Both times privatization won.
The proposed budget booklet townspeople received does not indicate that, on May 9, the board moved to postpone privatization to no sooner than September 2012. Thus we are all deceived by the indication of bus privatization.
The budget increase of 2.16 percent over last year's budget could be reduced by the $230,000, or that money could be used for previously cut programs.
There is a school budget meeting June 6. People need to voice their concerns.
Jess Smith, Wales