WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Teachers Guild has issued a statement criticizing State Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's handling of the supplemental tax increase issue.
The teachers union described Baldelli-Hunt's “waffling position” on the tax increase as resulting in the measure being sent back to committee.
The statement issued by the Guild maintained that while “there has been much debate over whether this supplemental tax increase is the best solution for Woonsocket, right now the schools have no other current alternative to fund operations.”
The Guild maintained that the state needed to step up and fund schools properly.
“Absent state support, the City must step in to provide the funding or the state representatives should be working on an alternative plan,” the statement said.
Woonsocket Teachers Guild President Jeffrey Partington pointed to the issue as political maneuvering that could hurt city children.
“The obvious use of this crisis to make or break political careers by using schoolchildren as pawns rather than come up with a workable solution is unforgivable,” Partington said.
He asked what alternative the city's representatives would propose in place of the supplemental tax.
“I understand, it is painful for the taxpayers,” Partington offered. “But if not this, then what?”.
“If Representative Baldelli-Hunt cannot vote for the plan, then can we have an alternate plan?” he added. “Finding out whodunit is nice, but even after we have identified the guilty, we still need a plan. Leaders lead in a time of crisis; politicians look to blame someone else.”
The statement concluded by saying it urges Woonsocket’s representatives to either support the supplemental tax increase as part of the solution or participate in the creation of a workable plan to fund Woonsocket Schools.
Mayor Leo T. Fontaine has said the appointment of a budget commission appears to be imminent, and might even happen before the City Council meets tonight at 7 to consider a formal resolution asking for one.