Letter: Vote yes for Amherst
To the Editor:
UMass students who are registered to vote in Amherst have a rare opportunity to make a real difference in Amherst’s schoolchildren’s lives this month. The town election on March 28 will include a ballot question to approve a bond issue for building two new elementary schools, under one roof, to replace two old, deteriorating schools. Both of the old schools have serious pollution problems and a history of sickening children and teachers. Both lack partitions between classrooms so noise is a constant distraction. Children with hearing problems and special needs are especially disadvantaged in these environments. Both buildings have mechanical systems that are obsolete and breaking down. The two new small schools will also create a possibility of an Early Childhood Center. Such centers have proven highly successful in neighboring districts and across the country.
To be approved, the ballot question not only must pass by a 2/3rd vote, but also must bring out a substantial number of registered voters in Amherst. Since the many UMass students who are registered to vote count as part of that base, it’s doubly important that students take the time to go vote on March 28. If the measure fails, Amherst will lose $34 million in state aid. It would then have to re-enter a complex state process, which has many school districts ahead of us in the queue. It may take a minimum of seven years to be considered again for state funds and, realistically, a good deal longer. Inflation and borrowing costs will then be substantially higher and so, too, local taxes. Non-monetary costs will be higher. A number of our good teachers might well leave for better working environments. Student enrollments will also likely fall, depleting monies for the educational program and thus generating more student exits.
Vote Yes for Amherst