Will the Coventry Town Council sit idly by as the Town Charter is ignored and the rights of the people are trampled on? Will the Town Council allow money to be spent in the name of education without a vote of approval by the Board of Education?

Soon the Coventry Town Council will have an opportunity to discuss the new education budget request with the Board of Education and the School District Administrator. It is the role and responsibility of the Town Council as elected representatives of the people to insure some sunshine, to gain some transparency and to act as a moral authority for the people of Coventry that have empowered them with our vote.

The Board of Education has recently voted to approve a budget for next year which as pointed out to the Town Council at their last meeting is in apparent violation of the Town Charter.

Coventry Town Charter
Section 8-4. Departmental estimates.

The town manager shall compile preliminary estimates for the annual budget. The head of each department, office or agency of the town, including the board of education, shall, on or before March 12, file with the town manager on forms prescribed and provided by him a detailed estimate of the expenditures to be made by his department, office or agency and the revenue other than tax revenue, to be collected thereby in the ensuing fiscal year and such other information as may be required by the council or the town manager.

The Town Charter in Chapter 8 Section 8-4 calls for each department, including the Board of Education, to provide a detailed estimate of the expenditures and the revenue other than tax revenue, to be collected for the ensuing fiscal year. It doesn’t say only some revenue, or whatever information they choose and yet the Board of Education has chosen to ignore the Town Charter and disclose to the public only some of the funding and expenses.

Most school grants are not fully included in the budget and in fact the Board of Education may not have even approved by vote these grants and yet the money will be received and spent. We are a nation and indeed a Town ruled by law, in this case a Town Charter, the Charter should not be ignored.

In Coventry there remains a fog of confusion over educational spending largely due to the lack of transparency brought on by poor leadership. The Coventry Board of Education has abdicated the responsibilities of leadership and priorities in spending to non-elected administrators and taken the position to ratify spending and actions without regard to the budget after the decisions are made by others.

When the Board of Education chooses to ignore the Charter it is a disgraceful disregard for the rule of law, a poor example to our youth and it erodes confidence in the overall budget. Board of Education members John Barrett and Mary Ann Emanuele did not vote in favor of this proposal and should be commended for their leadership.

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