Gateway School Committee eliminates Finance Sub-Committee

MIDDLEFIELD – At Wednesday’s School Committee meeting held in the Middlefield Town Hall, Chair Michele Crane of Blandford said only one person, Ruth Kennedy of Russell, had signed up for the Finance Sub-Committee.
Long-time member Shirley Winer of Chester asked if the Finance Sub-Committee was really necessary, and whether the whole School Committee should discuss the issues. Winer followed with a motion to disband the sub-committee.
During the discussion, Kennedy said that an example of not having an active Finance Sub-Committee is not having held a vote on the budget. A special School Committee meeting that had been scheduled for July 22 to vote on a new budget was cancelled due to the anticipated lack of a quorum. This lack of a vote was criticized at the meeting by town members in attendance.
“In a meeting like this, we do not have the time to concentrate,” Kennedy said. “We need a few people to really delve into it.”
“I agree with Shirley (Winer) that the duplication of effort is not good,” Ron Damon of Huntington said. “I’d rather have the School Committee have extra meetings at budget time.”
“The other part of my point is that the discussions that the Finance Sub-Committee has leave out the other School Committee members,” Winer said. “We need to have those discussions with the whole committee.”
“Maybe because the budget is so important, the whole School Committee should act as the Finance Sub-Committee,” Diane Dunn of Chester said.
The motion passed 5 to 4 to eliminate the Finance Sub-Committee.
Following the vote, Anne-Marie Buikus of Montgomery made a motion that every School Committee vote going forward should be a roll call vote.
“No matter how efficient our secretary is,” Damon said. “you better plan on adding another half hour just for that.”
From the floor, Russell resident Derrick Mason commented, “As a town official and a member of GTAC (Gateway Towns Advisory Committee), I would strongly urge you to make your vote public. We need to know how our School Committee members are voting.”
The motion to take roll call votes passed.

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