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Selectman says school advocates are targeting FinCom

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HARVARD — A call to change the FinCom’s makeup originated with pro-school-spending advocates irked because the FinCom doesn’t tend to take their side, said Selectman Randall Dean.

He characterized the move to change the FinCom as a “way to go after” a group that “typically doesn’t stand for the schools.”

“The school budget is 70 percent of the town budget,” he said, but only 50 percent of the households in town have kids in the school system.

With the School Committee biased by nature and the selectmen historically split on school spending issues, he said the FinCom’s take strikes a needed balance.

In the end, he said the notion that two appointments town moderator David “Doc” Westerling made to the group tasked with studying the issue are generally believed to be too much ado about the matter.

As he explained it, the committee can’t take any action on its own and will only make recommendations based on its findings. Before any change happens, he said it will have to be brought to voters at town meeting.

“We’ve spent 45 minutes on an issue that should have taken five minutes,” he said.

At least one member of the public agreed. Stuart Sklar, who introduced himself as a duly elected member of the School Committee and one of Westerling’s appointed study group members, said it’s time to stop talking about the committee and let it get to work.

He sided with the town moderator, who had earlier cited town counsel’s opinion that his appointments to the study committee are legal. He also said the people he appointed are “two good people” that he believes will serve the town well. Westerling acknowledged that his outreach network might not have been perfect, but he said his phone wasn’t “ringing off the hook” with folks who wanted to sign on, either.

Sklar, for one, said he’s ready to serve and eager to start.

“Let’s meet!” he said.

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