Parents bribed by schools to attend Acton Town Meeting

The schools are bribing Acton parents with free babysitting so they can attend Monday and Tuesday night's Town Meeting.

This year's school assessment is expected to be a close vote because the Board of Selectmen, for the first time, have voted not to recommend the school assessment. (See http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/selectmen-vote-not-recommend-scho...).

In response, the schools have unleashed a public-relations campaign to convince voters, specifically parents, to attend Town Meeting and support the school assessment, which is Acton's share of the budget. (See http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/schools-mislead-pr-effort). As one PTO email put it, "The more parents of school-aged children who attend, the more likely the school budget will pass."

In this earlier article, we complained that the schools, through several of their PTO organizations, were using school and taxpayer resources in order to influence the outcome of the Town Meeting vote....

Article continues on www.ActonForum at:


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jill Maxwell April 07, 2014 at 06:52 PM
No, Allen, you are wrong. At the risk of coming across as an insane person, I just have to say this one more time. This opinion piece was listed under "News and Features." Open the Patch email. Yes, it is listed under blogs. It is also listed first under News and Features. Now I'm going to go rip my hair out by the roots. Carry on, good people.
Brady's Mom April 07, 2014 at 09:03 PM
Allen, get your facts straight. The MinuteVan service is free for Town Meeting. (See page 4 of the warrant.) I'm guessing the driver and fuel are paid for by the town. The movie evening is being paid for by elementary school parent groups, not the schools, and staffed by volunteers. PTO funds are not part of the school budget, except, of course, until the PTOs donate them to the schools to fill the gap in public funding. Using language such as calling any group "lemmings" or claiming "bribery" is inflammatory at best. I've attended every Town Meeting since I moved here almost 30 years ago, and this is the first time I can remember the public use of such disrespectful language. I hope this trend is rejected by my fellow townspeople. But more than that, I wish every available voter showed up at Tuesday's town meeting (rather than the pitiful 300 or so there on Monday night.) Town Meeting would NOT be able to go forward because every voter could not be accommodated, and we might finally face the fact that this form of government is antiquated and disenfranchises most of the voters. (And I'm not suggesting "representative town meeting" either. There are other options.)
Allen Nitschelm April 07, 2014 at 11:08 PM
Dear Brady's Mom, You are wrong on the funding of the movie evening, you are wrong about PTOs not using school resources, and you are wrong on your underlying logic that a donation cannot be a form of wrongful compensation to get people to do something. If the schools offered to come paint your house using all volunteer labor if you attended Town Meeting, you wouldn't see anything wrong with that? I choose my headlines to get to the heart of the matter and I call things as I see them. If someone disagrees, they are free to post a reply or even write an article if they wish. The solution to speech one disagrees with is more speech, not trying to silence people with whom one is in disagreement. I'm not going to back down from my criticisms of how the schools are trying to manipulate the process to get their way.
Michael April 08, 2014 at 12:01 AM
@Brady's mom, here is an excerpt from the PTO flyer that I received; "The children will be chaperoned by adult volunteers (all CORI checked) including school district teachers, administrators and parents. In addition, high school volunteers will be on hand to help out." The volunteers are school teachers and other school officials. Just thought you'd like clarification.
Danielle Masterson April 10, 2014 at 09:21 AM
In response to complaints received via Patch email: Blogs are posted in the News & Features section *daily* across all Patches. This is not a new practice. All are welcome to start a blog and have his or her opinion posted in the Blog section, as well as News & Features (as long as it's about Acton or of interest to Acton). Click here to start blogging today ----> http://acton.patch.com/blogs/new


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