Letter to the Editor: Vote No On The Charter Schools Ballot Question

Photo: credit Portside

To the editor:

In the spring of 2015, Belmont residents voted for an override to better fund our schools and town infrastructure. Faced with rising budgets and kids with varied needs, we voted to increase our taxes. Other communities across the state have done the same. Massachusetts public schools remain the best in the country because of our dedicated teachers, administrators, kids, parents and taxpayers.

Now schools across Massachusetts face a new challenge: Ballot Question 2. This is a state-wide ballot initiative funded substantially by out-of-state billionaires. The initiative proposes to approve 12 new charter schools per year forever, with no limit on location within the state. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are privately run with no local oversight. As a result, charter schools aren’t truly “public”: they don’t enroll as many differently-abled students or English language learners, yet the majority of their funding comes from diverting money from local school districts that are already struggling to make ends meet.

So far, the amount of money diverted from Belmont to charter schools has been relatively low ($31,284 projected for the fiscal year 2017), but with the ballot question placing no limits on location, we have no control over how much might be diverted from our schools in the future.

Please join me in voting No on 2 this November.

Mary Lewis
Randolph Street