Tonight, the newly constituted Brookfield Board of Trustees sits down for the first of at least two budget workshops. It should be interesting to see how this board approaches funding compared to the previous administration.
Fiscal responsibility was a cornerstone of the PEP campaign during late 2004 and early 2005. Now's their chance to slap some mortar on that cornerstone and start building a framework around it.
In the months leading up to the election and in the short time since the new president and board were sworn in, there have been many priorities identified. Among the things considered front-burner issues by the new administration are: hiring a building department chief, hiring an economic development coordinator, allocating funding for street improvement and maintenance, finding money for ongoing park improvements and for a major overhaul at Jaycee/Ehlert Park, establishing a fund for ongoing vehicle and equipment replacement.
Those are all big ticket items. Moreover, issues like street and park improvements are things that need to be addressed over more than just one year. What residents should be looking for in the upcoming budget discussions are not simply tweaks, but an overall comprehensive strategy that addresses these key aspects for Brookfield.
We also hope that, for the second year running, trustees at the budget workshops will take partisan political agendas out of the equation. Last year, we felt the board worked well together to come up with a budget that was more or less bipartisan.
The budget eventually succumbed to some partisan point-scoring?"in the form of tax abatements to special service area residents?"that led to some political squabbling. Still the budget was more or less balanced.
We hope this board will go beyond simply balancing the budget to also pointing the way to the future. Fiscal responsibility is essential, just as essential as a strategic vision for that funding.
Congrats to high schools
Recently, Riverside-Brookfield and Lyons Township high schools were singled out for inclusion on Newsweek magazine's "best of" list for 2004. Despite the inherent shortcomings in the list's rather singular set of criteria, we want to congratulate both schools for their continued efforts to provide excellence in education.
We'd also like to give a thumbs up to RB in particular for challenging more students than ever to participate in the Advanced Placement program. In an age where critics complain that rigor has been removed from education, it's heartening to see that kind of rigor being encouraged for all students.