Letter: In order to fund the schools at the current level, we must pass the override

lettersDear Upton Daily Editor,

I am not an expert in the field of education. I am just a parent trying to do what’s best for my child. The reason I am supporting the override to fund the school district’s budget comes down to this. In order to fund the schools at the current level, we must pass the override.

For me, this is not so much about moving the schools forward as it is not forcing them to move backward.

My son was at Miscoe Hill in 2010, when the last override failed. The education he received at that time was substandard. It is a simple as that. There is still no librarian at Miscoe. Think about that for a second…there is NO librarian at Miscoe as a result of the last override failing. This is just plain embarrassing.

One of the most important issues for me is class sizes. I don’t believe there is a substitute for one-on-one time with your teacher. Our children should not have to compete with 30 other students for a teacher’s attention.

There will be a loss of some electives at Miscoe and Nipmuc.  Core subjects are critical to success, but electives can sometimes shed light on an area of interest that a student didn’t know they had. My son had the opportunity to take marketing elective at Nipmuc this year and qualified for the DECA international competition in Orlando. It has opened his eyes to a possible career path. These types of experiences are invaluable to our children and must remain part of the curriculum.

In the past few years, the district has made strides forward in an effort to get back to where it was before the recession.  And now we want to tear it down again? It is unthinkable.

I understand and appreciate the financial impact on families in our towns, especially senior citizens on a fixed income.  I haven’t received a raise in my pay for 5 years. If taxes increase, my disposable income decreases. It’s simple math.

However, as parents, we make many sacrifices for our children because we want them to do better in life than we have done. The foundation of this philosophy is an excellent education.

That is why I am voting YES at the Upton special election on May 18th.  I urge property owners, business owners and especially parents in Upton and Mendon to vote YES. We cannot afford to go backward!

Thank you.

Debbie Amorelli

Upton

2 Comments

  1. Michael, I appreciate that you are really doing your homework for this vote to make an informed decision! To that end, I encourage you to start attending the School Committee meetings (dates are posted on school calendar, and they can be viewed online, but in person is better). It has been people like you that have questioned the budget process that have sat on School Committee and have realized the school is pretty darn efficient with the funds it manages… and they are always trying to do better to squeeze out additional savings.

    At the end of the day, I hope you vote YES on Tuesday for your 4-yr old and all our MURSD students. A Mendon Fincom member’s comments in the meeting where they voted in support of the override sums it up nicely: the majority of the override supports level-services… then there’s $400K for targeted investment in the strategic plan. We can argue over what should be funded (because NOT ALL of the strategic plan is being funded), but those line items are a small portion of the overall budget. Another Fincom member publicly stated that he was adamantly against any override until he reviewed the facts and realized we would keep getting penalized by state with Chapter 70 funding until we met target share.

    So… in my opinion, please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water if you have an issue with any line item of the school’s budget. It boils down to the fact that MURSD is still ranked near the bottom in per pupil spending but gets pretty good bang for the buck in performance. This is coupled with the fact that there has been a Chapter 70 funding shift to the towns. Passing this override will not only be a course correction in getting in line with state demands, but it will sustain us for years to come. As Deb says in her letter, we can do better, and a YES vote will move us forward – not backward! That’s what will make the Mendon-Upton community even more attractive for all.

  2. Do you believe the district is appropriately using the money they are given? There are many people who believe there is a ton of wasteful spending going on. It makes it difficult to see an organization be frivolous with spending and then put their hand out demanding more. Would you give your child more dinner because they thought it was hilarious to draw on the walls with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce? I know I wouldn’t. My son would go to bed hungry. It’s very easy for an organization to just spend at their hearts content knowing that if they run out of funds, they can simply ask the towns for more and will probably get it. While I am fully against the business environment from infiltrating schools/administration/day to day routine, there is one area where a little business acumen is necessary, and that is the budget. I personally question whether that acumen is in place, and that’s why it’s such a tough decision for me.

    I support the schools 5-year plan in many ways and I realize that takes funding. But if the implementation of the plan is poorly managed, I have a tough time supporting sending more of my hard earned money their way. I look forward to having a great education for my 4yr old in the coming years. It’s why we moved to the town! The great education without having to pay $18/thousand in tax rate. If taxes continue to skyrocket, the town will begin to be less and less attractive. We need to find other areas of income versus the backs of residents.

Comments are encouraged! If this is your first time commenting (welcome!). Your email is required but not displayed. I ask town officials to use their real names.

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