Letter: A yes vote benefits every student, parent and property owner in Mendon and Upton

lettersDear Editor,

It is March 2015 and the world continues to change around us. Discoveries in science, medicine and technology advance. In the field of education we know more about memory and learning then ever before. We understand today that education is more than lecture, drill, test, repeat. The interplay between exercise, nutrition, interpersonal communication, brain development, health, exposure to the arts and hands on learning is better understood. We know that to help a child reach his or her full potential we must educate the whole child. In addition, the world around us is changing in terms of the influence of technology and globalization in every aspect of daily life. To meet this reality k-12 education must expand to provide cultural and world language programming in a technologically rich environment. Furthermore, we recognize that career and college opportunities are vastly more competitive than they were even ten years ago. Communities that do not invest in continual improvements in their public education system leave students at a disadvantage.

Approximately four years ago our district hired a new Superintendent to lead us into the future. He focused on building bridges between the regional school district office and town officials. With the aid of dozens of residents representing business, education and local government he developed a five-year strategic plan to map out a path forward. Now he, the school committee and other community leaders are asking for our support to act. Asking questions, attending meetings, reading the strategic plan and budget materials can help citizens make an informed decision. But most important is making the decision to invest in our community.

Having raised two sons educated in the district since kindergarten our family is now immersed in the college search process. I’m a first hand witness to the fiercely competitive environment in the world beyond MURSD. Colleges and universities are not only evaluating the student, they evaluate the school. The most competitive institutions want to see a variety of AP and Honors level opportunities, sports, extracurricular offerings, service and leadership opportunities, highly qualified teachers in their field of instruction and a technologically rich environment. The MURSD strategic plan provides for targeted growth in areas critical for student success in gaining entrance into the best secondary schools or setting them on a path to a successful entrance to the workforce or military service. The choice is clear; we can support the continued growth and success of the district or go backwards. We can see our students realizing their dreams or denied opportunities. Watch our home values appreciate or see our home values slide below neighboring communities. See students remain at Nipmuc or make different choices about where to receive their high school education (taking the corresponding funding with them). We can pull together as a community or deteriorate into factions that keep us from reaching our full potential.

There are some who feel that the cost of funding our schools is too high for the community to bear. They argue for reducing costs. Currently superintendents, school committee members, teachers, coaches, and school business managers across the state are arguing the opposite. There is broad based agreement that Massachusetts education funding is inadequate. Great efforts are underway to reevaluate the state education funding formula. In Mendon and Upton residential property taxes may be high compared to other communities. Clearly, without the benefit of a significant commercial tax base, the burden for funding services weighs heavily on residents. Where there are concerns about the high cost of public education time and energy is best-spent working to change the education funding formula at the state level.

At the local level supporting the 2015 MURSD budget will sustain our schools for years to come and helps advance the strategic plan. A yes vote benefits every student, parent and property owner in Mendon and Upton. Please vote in support of Mendon and Upton. Vote Yes.

Key Meeting Dates:

5/1: Mendon Annual Meeting

5/4: Upton Annual Election

5/7: Upton Annual Town Meeting

5/12: Mendon Annual Election


Heather Applegate

MUEF president

Nipmuc Together

2007-2013 MURSD School Committee

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