To the Editor:
The supposed facts in Weiland Ross's recent commentary, “The pandemic is killing our Republic,” should be viewed skeptically because it's easy to see that at least one “fact” was false and Mr. Ross probably knew it was.
When someone writes one “fact” that he should know is false, it's fair to question whether he has really researched the issues and whether the rest of his “facts” are similary false.
The obviously false “fact” concerned the budget of the Taconic and Green Regional School District. Mr. Ross wrote “all kinds of special interests” are using COVID “to gain an advantage for themselves.”
Mr. Ross continued, “In Vermont, the education establishment is perhaps the worst offender. They continue to provide less education because of covid, but demand more money for themselves. Locally, the Taconic and Green district got a tax increase on the grounds that they needed more funds to cope with covid.”
His assertion about the tax increase has not one shred of truth. A look at the calendar shows this. A seasoned political observer like Mr. Ross must know that Vermont school boards finalize their proposed budgets by January so they can be presented in published reports, discussed at annual school district meetings, and then voted on in early March. COVID-19 was not seen in the U.S. until mid-January. The first U.S. death was in February. The Centers for Disease Control did not warn Americans to prepare for local outbreaks until late February. Vermont schools stayed open until mid-March. By then, the Town Meeting Day vote on the school budget had already happened.
If Mr. Ross really cared about the facts, he could have looked at the school district's annual report, gone to the school district website and checked the budget, or read the minutes of the annual meeting. He would have seen nothing related to COVID-19, for the simple reason that it was unknown when the school board adopted the budget.
Herbert G. Ogden,
The writer is the chair of the Taconic & Green Regional School District board.