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?
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.
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!
I’ve been out of town and not keeping up with the morning papers like I usually do, so thanks to Blogging Belmont reader Rita for pointing me to this recent article in the New York Times about the difference that…
Faced with a roomful of worried parents, the School Committee bends (a bit), giving tepid approval to an effort to raise private funds to maintain athletic programs that fell victim to a failed override effort. That’s good for Freshmen…maybe…but is it sustainable?
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.
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!