Vote No on MRSD Budget!


To the Editor,

A few weeks ago, I attended the Joint meeting of the Board of Selectman, Finance Committee and the MERSD administration.  I and another resident mentioned how the school district was trying to compete with private schools.  The Superintendent stated, “We are not trying to compete with private schools.”

Yet at the January 23rd School Committee meeting she said the District was aiming for a 1 to 5 ratio.  This is a private school ratio.

At this joint meeting and an open meeting at town hall, I addressed that over 30 percent of the taxpayers in town were over 60.  More than half of those over 60 are on fixed incomes.  I stressed the burden and pressure the Essex tax rate puts on these people.  Many have raised their families in their home, which they have worked hard to pay for.  Most do not have an extra $500 to pay more taxes.  They are losing their homes where they raised their children, celebrated holidays, and life events.  When they are forced to sell their homes there is almost nowhere for them to live and stay in this town they love.  Helping seniors stay in their homes actually saves the town money.

A few weeks ago, an email went out stating, “We will be facing a fierce battle from some residents who are setting up a false binary of ‘kids and education vs. Seniors’.” 

Let me be very clear–my statements in no way were intended to pit education against the seniors.  I have a dual BS in Education, Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education K-8.  For over 20 years I was a permanent substitute at Essex Elementary.  I covered maternity leaves, did one-on-ones and was a classroom aide.

During the Pandemic my eyes were opened to the grave needs of many here in Essex.  I delivered groceries every week.  I brought food to families in need as well as Seniors.  Many in town donated money so we could give these people gift certificates as well as food.  This Town is very generous when there is a genuine need.  

I am now 68 and spend most of my time these days helping seniors.  The regional administration and school committee members do not consider taxpayers who are on fixed incomes.  Some hard cold facts:

  • There are 300 less students in the district.  Yet the staff has continued to increase.
  • The School Committee and MERSD administration would have you believe they reduced the budget for Annual town meeting.  They did not – insurance costs for staff were less than expected and there were a few retirements.
  • There are almost 50 classes being taught with an average of 5 or less students per class.
  • When information on classroom sizes and per pupil numbers was requested, Superintendent Beaudoin stated she would only release the information if it was requested by the School Committee. 
  • The Selectman asked for a list of information on class size and course titles (early January).  After several months, the BOS was given the list recently.   The list was redacted heavily, including course titles, rendering the information useless.  (What are they hiding by not listing course names, i.e. Biology, Chemistry, English, etc.)
  • Every Essex Department and Board has been held to a 2 ½ % or less increase in their budgets.  Yet our portion of the MERSD budget is a 7.12% increase.

We cannot keep paying for this overpriced school district when the money just isn’t there.  It is time to say NO to this Administration.  It is time to make them act and consider ALL the people who elected them not just the parents with school children. 

They need to realize this is a PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.  Please join me in attending the Essex Annual Town meeting on May 1.  

We need to vote NO on the budget and the 2 ½ override for MERRSD.   Let them know we want real transparency and an affordable budget.   Make them go back to the table and come up with a reasonable, transparent budget.   The schools will not stop if we vote no!

May 1st make your voice be heard.  Let the District know that enough is enough!

Dawn Burnham


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