“I’m writing to express my deepest reservations about the status of our town’s budget cutting exercise and its impact on the School Department budget for FY 2021, ” School Committee member Michael Crowley begins his letter to the Select Board.
With per pupil spending in Belmont already about $3,000 per student/per year below the State average per district ($12,700 in Belmont vs. $15,900 avg.), our public schools entered the pandemic stretched to the breaking point. Now we risk plunging into a full-blown fiscal crisis with layoffs of instructional staff, increased class sizes and cuts to supplies.
When you live in a compact, walkable town like Belmont, its easy to forget that many, many other communities across the country are what you might call “car bound.” They’re sprawling, decentralized, with poor access to critical services and lacking even the basic infrastructure, like sidewalks and bike lanes, to support citizens who choose to go car free. No surprise, also, that in these communities the collective memory of things like walking or biking places or riding the bus has disappeared, making those once normal activities seem foreign or downright dangerous. Thus, the news item that flashed across my computer screen today about high school seniors in Michigan being punished for riding their bikes to school. Crazy, no?
Just a note that the Belmont PTA/PTO will be screening Race To Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture tomorrow evening (Thursday) at the Belmont Studio Cinema, with half the price of admission donated to Belmont’s Public Schools.PTO/PTA’s! The…
What’s the Chinese method of mothering? According to Yale Prof Amy Chua’s new book, its a kind of maternal totalitarianism that encompasses a numbing collection of do’s and even more don’ts. As in “Don’t…attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose (your) own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin AND not play the piano or violin.” These are her words, mind you, not mine.
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
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.