Privatize School Janitors
In January of 2004, I embarked upon a great challenge. As the youngest person ever elected to public office in the City of Haverhills history, I asked for and was granted by the voters a chance to turn around a school system in dire straits.
A few months after taking office I was greeted with a $2 million deficit. Over the past 4 years the school system has cut about $20 million from its operating budget. Neighborhood schools have been closed, programs cut or completely eliminated, user fees instituted to students for everything imaginable and higher class sizes.
In evaluating our financial state, I felt that we must get creative and look everywhere for cost savings. I put fourth an idea to issue an RFP to privatize custodian services in the system. A majority of members supported my idea and the process got started. Initial estimates of savings have been significant. However, as the process has gone forward there has been political pressure from the custodians union to stop the process. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues have caved in, publicly advocating stopping the process.
It baffles me that some elected leaders care more about their political future than the future of our children. The opportunity may now exist for this School Committee to get the same services at a significantly cheaper cost. Those who dont want to look at this are failing the taxpayers of our city. These members say, why change what we already have? Why not look somewhere else for savings?
My answer is simple: we must look everywhere, under every rock and around every corner to put teachers back in the classroom and restore programs for our children. This is not an easy decision, especially when talking about peoples lives. However, I was elected to lead and will do so. While some of my colleagues in the city would rather spin the negatives while looking into my proposal, I am reminded of a quote from former. President Harry S. Truman who said, A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
This proposal has caused me to become public enemy #1 with the custodial union, their family and friends. Even with that I will always do what I feel is right and in the best interest of my city. I will never cave to political pressure or personal attacks for doing what is right. I pledge to continue my fight to save our taxpayers money and turn the Haverhill Public schools into a class A school system.
I will leave you with a quote from Edward Everett Hale which hangs on my wall: I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do what I can.
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