How Low Will They Go? MCAS Using & Misleading Our Kids With Their Budget Lies

There’s a new petition floating around on our Montclair inter-webs professing to be from some group called “Montclair Students Speak Out.” The petition asks for “the board to reverse its plan to fire over 50 public school workers as a result of faulty budgeting.” The petition blames the $8.2 million budgetary deficit on overspending of “technology, consultants, legal fees, quarterly assessment tests, and other items within a secretive, unclear spending plan. These expenditures were made with neither transparency nor receptiveness to public input.”


As we’ve mentioned before, this whole business about “technology, consultants, legal fees, quarterly assessment tests” driving the budget issues is flat out false. It’s misinformation being spread by a handful of folks – MCAS and their leaders, like Michelle Fine and Regina Tuma. In fact, if you go back and watch the February 23rd meeting, you’ll notice that the petition actually mirror’s Fine and Tuma’s comments about the budget very closely…

Here’s an inconvenient fact for them: The budget problem is driven by the 82% we’re spending on Salaries and Benefits for employees. Period.

And where’s the secretive unclear spending plan? Over the past few weeks, the district and town have discussed the details of the budget ad nauseum. Where are the secrets?

BaristaNet reported on the petition, and unfortunately uncritically quoted its easily-factually-debunked comments on the spending. We’re hoping local media will stop letting these sort of claims stand.

But more specifically, we’re with those commenters there who are upset about the way kids are being used here. Assuming it is students behind the petition, they didn’t come up with those false talking points about the budget themselves – they were fed them by Fine and Tuma and the rest of the MCAS folks, who continue to demonstrate a reckless disregard for our school system and kids, and who are willing to say and do anything to advance their extreme political agenda. Those talking points mirror exactly the ones that MCAS and the MEA have been using, and it’s disappointing that they’re now taking to misleading kids in order to use them to try and advance their extremist agenda.

It’s time to put a stop to the lying and politicking around the budget. The truth is pretty straightforward, and the misleading lies about technology, lawyers, the central office, etc., are just efforts to distract from the core fiscal issues we face. MCAS, the MEA, Fine, Tuma, Davis, and others have shown they are simply not willing to be honest and can’t be trusted on these issues. They’re willingness to lie here, and to use and mislead children to advance their political agenda is proving for all of us interested in serious solutions for our school district that there’s no low they aren’t willing to stoop to.

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