As an administrator in the highly regulated, highly intense, healthcare public service sector, one learns that labor (50 percent) and supplies (20 percent) across the industry stay consistently at roughly 70 percent of the budget. Ms. Estes writes in her latest article that the 2025 school budget is “a level-funded budget of $118,734,700 for fiscal year 2025. That figure represents 61 percent of the town’s entire budget.” I believe this is a bit misleading, and leads taxpayers down a path of trading our students (our future) for what? Better roads? – you fill in the blank. Does the 61 percent represent mismanagement? Unions out of control? The regulatory costs? What percent of the school budget is labor and supplies? And by extension, what percent of the 39 percent remaining of the town’s budget is labor and supply?
If the budgets were combined under the town manager the numbers would flow, I predict, evenly, the same percentage for labor and supplies. There were hefty pay increases for town staff (within the 39 percent) in the recent past for much needed market adjusts. Taxes have increased as the funding mechanism. Mismanagement? Unions? Regulations?
The budget question in public service industries, such as healthcare or municipalities boils down to values. In health care I always budgeted to favor the patient and staff.
In Plymouth, I vote for the students and the teachers – the future. Plymouth’s viability as a leader in Massachusetts rests with our children.
Kuehn is a member of the Planning Board.
Editor’s note: The story referenced in the letter has been modified to more clearly categorize the budget breakdown. The $118,734,700 school budget, plus additional town funds allocated to schools for other items – including 75 percent of school employees’ health insurance costs – accounts for about 61 percent of all town spending.
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