A study of home values in Bay State towns finds that home owners reap far more financial gain from passing overrides that benefit local school systems through increased property values than they save in taxes. What will be the price of this month’s “NO” vote for Belmont home owners?
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.
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.
With a vote on a proposition 2 1/2 override due on the ballot on June 14, its time to get organized and make sure that the override passes. There’s an important meeting of the Warrant Committee, School Committee and Board of Selectman on Wednesday and an organizational meeting tonight for those interested in joining the campaign in support of a Proposition 2 1/2 override vote. Check it out!
The annual school spelling bee is approaching and volunteers are needed (adults and student volunteers, both). Please help make this year’s spelling bee a success.
NPR’s Speaking of Faith featured a great discussion with UCLA Prof. Mike Rose this week. Rose asks the big questions: “What is the role of education in a democracy?” “Why do discussions about education tend to fall into the same ruts?” “How do we balance a need for accountability with a definition of education that goes beyond test scores?” Check it out.
Belmont’s Superintendent issued a statement expressing shock and sadness at the tragic death of a Belmont High School Senior on Thursday afternoon. The teen was struck and killed by a train on the tracks behind Belmont High School.
There were signs from the start that my fears about a lightly attended or lackluster Community Dialog were misplaced. Maybe it was the long line of attendees –spanning three generations –waiting to sign in. Or maybe it was the inspirational video of the Black Eyed Peas leading a 20,000 person flash mob through a choreographed dance routine that kicked off the event. Whatever the case, the Community Dialog started off strong…and then got better.
Carve out some time this Tuesday afternoon/evening, October 27th, to attend the first ever Community Dialog sponsored by the Belmont Public Schools: from 4:30PM to 8:00PM Tuesday evening at the BHS Field House. This is an amazing opportunity for community members and other stake holders to participate in a wide open discussion about the future of both schools and public education in our community. To reserve your space, RSVP to Cathy Grant at 617 993-5401 or by email at cgrant(at)belmont.k12.ma.us.
Two events to put on your calendar: an October 13 chat with Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Murphy on the state of the State’s budget. Then set aside the evening of October 27 for an important Community Dialog on the future direction of the public schools.