Author: Paul Roberts

Important Budget Goings On – Don’t Sleep Through ‘Em!

Just a heads up, y’all, that there are a slew of important budget meetings looming, starting this Tuesday evening, January 11, when School Superintendent, Dr. Entwistle will present the proposed FY 2012 budget to the School Committee. This meeting is in the Community Room at Chenery Middle School and will be the public’s first look at the budget for next year. From what I’ve heard, this is a “make the best of a bad situation” budget with some sobering numbers. We’ll need your help and involvement to win the funding our teachers and administrators need to preserve critical programming. Here are some dates to put on your calendar.

New Year’s Resolution (or how I learned to stop worrying and love parking meters)

After a hectic year of political races and an (unsuccessful) override vote, I wrapped my brain around a much smaller and more concrete question: could Belmont make money off of multi space parking meters? The answer: hell yeah! Read on for more…and for my New Year’s Resolutions

Move to Belmont? What’s Your Advice?

A prospective home buyer writes me to say that they love the idea of living in Belmont, but have “reservations” about the town’s commitment to its schools. What’s your take? And what’s your elevator pitch for (or against) Belmont?

Belmont: Making Tough Choices

Like all of us who live or work in Belmont, I’m sure you’ve noticed that our Town is facing difficult times: a budget shortfall, a fragmentation of our civil discourse and a waning of trust in local government. This isn’t the first time this has happened, of course, but in many ways the challenges are new. So, just as New England towns have done for centuries, Belmont is convening a meeting in October to begin to sort out, together, how we can best address those challenges. And we invite you to attend.

Best of Boston rankings may punish Belmont High

Belmont ranked a paltry 29th out of 150 in last year’s high school rankings, despite landing numerous, national awards, including a Silver Medal on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best High Schools and an award from Forbes Magazine and Great Schools that listed Belmont as the top district among towns with a median home price between $600,000 and $799,000. What does Boston Magazine know that these other publications don’t? Read on to find out!

School Committee to discuss privately funded Freshmen Sports

The School Committee has tacked on an extra meeting onto its calendar to address the pressing issue of funding Freshman Athletics at Belmont High School. The meeting will be held on Monday, July 12, 2010 between 6:00pm and 10:00pm in the Community Room at Chenery. Are we seeing the beginning of a grass roots revolution in public education…or just middle class parents with their backs to the wall? Time will tell.

Belmont poorly served by Citizen Herald in election coverage

Belmont readers enjoyed solid coverage of the override vote from Belmont Patch (belmont.patch.com). Not so the town’s paper of record, the Citizen Herald which, I was told, is actually a more of a blog now, not a paper. Who knew?

First the anger, now the cuts

Clearly there was a lot of anger out there – and maybe the “YES” campaign misread it, or maybe there was nothing to be done. In an environment in which so many private sector employees are losing their jobs, maybe some folks will find it cathartic to fire some public sector employees, so their families can suffer, too. That’s a mean sentiment, but I don’t doubt it exists. As for the services those employees provide…there will be fewer of them. Like what, you ask? Well, school for one — Belmont High is shortening extracurricular courses from full year to half year — part of a trend that has seen BHS eliminate 19 class sections in just the last two years to try to live within budget constraints.

Override – Voting YES for Belmont’s future

Belmont votes today for a $2 million override of Proposition 2 ½. I’m going to be voting yes and I encourage you to, also. I’ve been deeply involved in the YES campaign, OneBelmont, and there’s much that I could say about why I think its critical to for Belmont to start to correct its structural budget deficit and pass this override. Even if this override passes, there will be deep cuts to services, as the Town struggles to find $1.5m in savings from an already lean budget.

More town meeting liveblog

OK – I’ve been here for almost an hour so – just to catch you up: we’re moving through Article 4: the Budget appropriation after something of a slow wind up as the various committee and board heads provided preludes…