Extra, extra, read all about it! Calamity crier Eric Haley, the superintendent of the Waterville schools system, is hailing budget bad news, “about the worst I’ve ever seen,” “deep and dark.”

This year, the stakes are higher for the heavy boys. They have lost two councilors who received paychecks, household income, and health care from the Waterville school system while voting on the same budget.

The school’s Parent Press became a political tool and described members of the community, school children included, as “having angst and hard feelings.” Haley’s “education” forum accused parents and their children of “threatening and holding him hostage,” “demanding a mill rate cut with no support from the council.” The council is being asked to hold and maintain the mil rate at a whopping 22.8 and not cut it, and it does have councilors’ support.

School corridors and classrooms are also abuzz with excitement. “We will lose our jobs.” “Schools will close.” Students become human shields and educated to advocate for the teachers’ cause.

“Deep and dark times” — it is the residents who will be digging deep into their pockets, and dark when the property tax bill eats up your electric bill.

Waterville supports four schools and ignores the new buzz word “consolidation.” Many teachers and administrators do not live in our community to pay our mil rate. Pay raises again on six-figure salaries, while the governor recommends cutting the top-heavy superintendents. Across the river Winslow has flat-funded the schools this year; our council looks after the schools before residents.

Colby has come down from the hill and faculty have instructed the council to increase the tax bill. Anyone see the irony in this?

Colby city councilors flood the council with their colleagues.

Say no to a rate increase, end the feudal system.

Julian Payne

Waterville