To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in response to the request of the Adult Continuing Education Program of Martha’s Vineyard (ACE MV) for taxpayer funds to run its programs. Courses in this program are listed in categories of professional development, cooking, health and fitness, GED preparation, and so on.
ACE MV is requesting funds in the amount of $130,587, apportioned according to a formula, from all Island towns. Apparently, for its 2015 budget year (2014 budget is not available), ACE MV will be running in deficit and needs taxpayer money to bail it out. The new budget shows line items for enhanced salaries for the executive director. assistant director, a newly created position of assistant to the executive and assistant directors, with benefits (health? pension?) all around.
As a Tisbury taxpayer, I am appalled that ACE MV is approaching our town for such a bailout. With a total budget Prop 2.5 imminent and projects such as a new school, new town hall, and a new Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools administrative building looming, I believe our assessed $25,295 payment is outrageous. This money can find a home in any one of our town budget items very easily. I am also afraid that this will become an annual request. Just think, 10 years at 25,000 comes to $250,000.
This is my take on this subject. ACE MV should live within its means without asking for taxpayers to support an organization in need of a business plan overhaul and enhanced fiscal oversight. I think this organization should be audited.
In case ACE MV can’t come up with a budget to live within its means, here are a few suggestions to consider.
For the staff, please pay yourselves wages that are within your budget to support; contact the Massachusetts Health Connector to find a plan that you can pay for yourself; and, set up an IRA to fund your retirement, as the rest of us prudent souls do.
For students in cooking classes, which may be cancelled, go online or buy a cookbook, find a recipe, purchase the ingredients, and follow the recipe directions. Voila. You will have a pot of soup or a plate of tapas or whatever suits your taste. Please, do not ask the taxpayers to fund your activities.
For those interested in health and fitness classes for help in finding one’s true self,
just sign up at the YMCA or take yoga classes, abundant all over the Island. For those who want to know more about those nasty GMO’s, just do a Google search, and you’ll find more than a lifetime’s worth of reading matter on that subject.
For GED preparation students, we already have a tax-supported organization called the Martha’s Vineyard Public School System to facilitate your endeavors. I am sure that, for some overtime compensation, one of our education administrators, already receiving salary and benefits courtesy of the taxpayers, can take up this challenge.
For those in need of professional development credits, please, this for you already is a tax deduction. Additionally, any Island educator is already getting reimbursement to the tune of $1,050 per three-credit course. Did I mention that the current executive director is teaching or co-teaching two of the courses?
I could go on and on, but you get my drift.
In conclusion, for those of you who believe that ACE MV is as vital to us as air and water, please do take out your own checkbook and donate, donate, donate. Give until it hurts. But, please, leave the taxpayers out of it. It is none of our business.