Breaking: Belmont Preparing For April Return Of Full-Time In-Person Classes For Elementary Students

Photo: Belmont will offer full-time learning for K-5 in April

The Belmont School District will announce next month two learning options for its youngest students one of which will be full-time, in-person learning beginning in April, according to a press release from Belmont Superintendent John Phelan released on Friday, Feb. 26.

The statement marks the first time the district has announced it would move to all-day in-person learning during the current school year.

Yet still to be answered as the district heads to a return of “normal” school days are issues that have existed since the summer: the existing space limitations at the four elementary schools and the need to negotiate all changes of staffing levels and scheduling with the teachers union.

The impetus for the move came as the state is forcing Belmont’s – and many other school districts – hand when Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeff Riley announced Tuesday, Feb. 23 he will ask the DESE Board to vote on March 22 on giving him the authority to eliminate all hybrid learning options in the elementary grades statewide.

Belmont is currently working in separate hybrid programs for elementary, middle and high schools.

“With COVID cases and hospitalizations continuing to decline and vaccines well underway, it is time to set our sights on eliminating remote learning by April, starting with elementary schools,” said Gov. Charlie Baker at a news conference on Tuesday.

If the board OKs the authorization, Phelan said Riley will then direct districts to provide elementary school students with one of two learning models: full in-person or a return to or continuation of remote learning. 

Riley said his goal is to require all districts starting on Monday, April 5 to have an in-person, full-time option for students in kindergarten through 5th grade.

In his response to Riley’s announcement, Phelan said Belmont is ahead of where the state stands in moving towards in-person reopening for all students, pointing to the recently formed Return to In-Person Learning Working Group (RIPLWG) with its “goal of providing more in-school time for students who want it.”

“Because Commissioner Riley’s goal of increasing live instructional time for students is very much in line with our own goals, we will not wait until March 22 to begin the important work of considering the implications of this change,” said Phelan.

“We will continue to plan thoughtfully and thoroughly so that we are ready to adjust to any changes that may be mandated,” said Phelan. “We await the Commissioner’s plan and updated guidance to ensure our work is directed toward the intended goal.”

As soon as the district gets a clearer picture of what the two models will look like in Belmont, it will survey families “so you can make an informed decision” on which plan to accept. The survey will also be determining staffing levels in the schools and remote.

“It is important that families have a full picture of what either model will be before committing,” said Phelan.

That process begins next week as “[w]e intend to be very public and transparent about our work, and will share all of the materials and data we are using with the entire community,” said Phelan. Those resources will include classroom enrollment data, room capacity measurements, and other information, most of which can be found on the Return to In-Person Learning webpage.

Phelan said the next communication with the community will be on Tuesday, March 1, after the next RIPLWG meeting.

“There will be many details to come in the weeks to follow that we will need to discuss and operationalize for this next step to take place successfully,” said Phelan.

But there remain several questions that have been left unanswered. The first that has plagued the district is the lack of space in the four elementary schools to provide 6-feet social distancing to allow the full capacity of students to attend. There is also the issue of incorporating one grade at the Chenery Middle School into the full-time schedule. Along with expected expenses is the knowledge that all significant changes the district will need to put forth to accomplish the mandate are required to take to collective bargaining with the Belmont Education Association, the local teachers union. It is not known if Riley has the ability to waive state labor laws when he sets forth his agenda.

At this time, Phelan said he is moving towards the goal of in-class learning.

“The Belmont Public Schools is committed to more in-person learning for students, whether the mandate is handed down or not. We will continue working to provide greater in-school time to those students who want it, while also maintaining a remote option,” said Phelan.

“We will do this work as we always do: thoroughly, thoughtfully, and in conjunction with all stakeholders – students, families, and educators,” said Phelan.

Opinion: At This Crossroads, Why School Funding Matters

Photo: Why school funding is critical now

By Stephanie J. Crement

I have been a public-school educator for the past 22 years and currently work as a middle school special educator. I have two children at Butler Elementary School, where I believe they have received and continue to receive an excellent education. However, we are now at a crossroads in our town, and I am very concerned that if we do not pass the override on April 6, our schools will be unable to maintain the high quality of education from which my children and many others have benefitted.

We talk about how we value education in Belmont, yet Belmont spends less than other towns in Massachusetts in nearly every category of the school budget. Belmont is already in the bottom three percent in Massachusetts in number of teachers per 100 students (class size) and in the bottom six percent in Massachusetts in per pupil expenditure. A failed override would make our teacher-student ratio even worse. That funding – or lack thereof – plays out in real ways in the classroom.

One way funding plays out is with class size. In my experience, class size DOES matter. To be sure, highly skilled teachers know how to manage large classes and to differentiate to meet the needs of many students with various needs. But those who say that the size of the class does not significantly affect the experience of the student and the teacher have spent little time in actual K-12 classrooms. The more students there are in the classroom, the less individual attention each student receives during the school day.  During a 57-minute class period, there simply isn’t time for a teacher to check in with 28 students individually. Large class sizes mean fewer opportunities for students and teachers to connect, for students to get feedback, and for students to ask questions and have those questions answered. There is less time for teachers to discover students’ passions and to assess where students might be struggling.  

What is less obvious is that with each additional student, a teacher’s workload increases exponentially. It can mean an additional 30 minutes per child spent reading an essay or grading a math assessment and writing constructive feedback. It can mean an additional hour preparing for, holding, and following up after a parent-teacher conference for each additional child. It’s not that teachers are unwilling to do this. In fact, every Belmont Schools educator who has taught our two children has worked well beyond contractual hours to prepare lessons, communicate with us, and give our students feedback. Moreover, children’s needs extend beyond academics. When our high school cannot hire a social worker, it doesn’t mean that children don’t bring their concerns to school.  It means that helping students work through problems is another part of what teachers and other school-based staff members do, putting additional stresses on their time.

What Belmont doesn’t have in dollars, my children’s dedicated teachers at Butler make up for in energy, hard work, and time.  However, time is a limited resource.  At some point, it just runs out. With increasing enrollment, we will not be able to maintain the quality of education upon which Belmont prides itself, and we certainly won’t be able to make improvements and add new programs. If the override fails, it is our students who will suffer. 

Some might say that research about class size is inconclusive. Let me tell you what is NOT inconclusive:  the importance of the teacher. In fact, it is incredibly well-documented that the most important school-related factor that affects student achievement is teacher quality. Just because our Belmont educators and administrators have worked with fewer resources than our neighboring schools does not mean that we should continue to underfund our schools. Just because the best teachers make it look easy does not mean the burden isn’t heavy. Without this override, I fear that the work will be too heavy to bear, and our schools will not be able to maintain their reputation for excellence.  

We will not be able to retain high quality, experienced educators with large class sizes and without the resources that most other districts around us can offer.  We will not be able to attract more teachers of color to join an overwhelmingly white teaching staff when they can choose districts with smaller class sizes and more resources.

Our lean school budget is not a source of pride or a sign of fiscal responsibility. It means that our children, especially those with learning differences who often need extra time and specialized instruction, aren’t getting what they need and deserve. As a special education professional, I was particularly  shocked to learn that our elementary schools do not have Special Education Chairs. Children who receive special education services have Individual Education Plans (IEP), legally binding documents that outline how the child learns and the services, accommodations, and modifications the student requires as well as the goals that the child is working to achieve. Special educators spend time assessing students, differentiating for student needs, modifying curriculum, and providing accommodations so that students can be successful and master their IEP goals. These are practices in which all good teachers engage. Another facet of a special educator’s job is completing compliance related paperwork.  This paperwork is critical for our students on IEPs to ensure they are receiving the services they need. It is also very onerous and time intensive.  Without Special Education Chairs, those responsibilities fall solely on the teachers and school psychologists. This often leaves those educators with even less time to prepare lessons or provide feedback to students. Hiring special education chairs is not an extra; it allows classroom teachers to devote their time to the job of teaching. 

I hear people say: Belmont students have done well, so why do the schools keep asking for more? For my family, like many others I know, the excellent reputation of the school system is one of the reasons we moved to Belmont.  Many Belmont students do well on standardized tests, an important but very limited measure. However, I’ve spoken with many parents and caregivers of students who receive special education services, or even those who might not have been identified, who say their students are not receiving all the services they need. That’s not because the teachers who work with them are not excellent or hardworking. It’s because our system does not have the capacity to do more. An education system that prides itself on being excellent must be committed to serving ALL students, not just those for whom learning comes easily.  

For years, Belmont educators have done so much with very little, but this isn’t a trip to the dollar bin at Target. It isn’t a game where we try to get as much as we can with as little as possible. These are our children’s futures.  If we say we value education, it’s time that the funding we provide truly reflects that sentiment.  

Please vote yes for the override on April 6.

Stephanie J. Crement

Harris Street

Belmont Cultural Council Awards Grant For 2021

Photo: Awards are announced by the Belmont Cultural Council

State Representative Dave Rogers, State Senator Will Brownsberger and Nancy Linde, Chair of the Belmont Cultural Council, have announced the award of eight grants totaling $8,370, for cultural programs in Belmont during 2021. At this difficult time of world-wide pandemic, the Cultural Council looked largely to support those long-standing institutions that have enriched the Belmont Community with music, fine arts, interpretive science, and humanitarian initiatives throughout the years.

The 2021 Grantees are:

  • Belmont Gallery of Art: Nesting, a Bird-Themed Public Art Project, $725
  • Belmont World Film’s International Film Series  $925
  • The Dorothy & Charles Mosesian Center: Visual and Performing Arts for local children $450
  • The Benton Lending Library  $925
  • Powers Music School: Online Community Outreach  $925
  • Habitat/Mass. Audubon (2 Grants): Sensory Friendly Days ($700) and Birding in Belmont ($420)
  • Belmont Art Association: Beautifying Belmont’s Transformer Boxes $3,300

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers who are all Belmont residents. The members of the Belmont Cultural Council are: Vicki Amalfitano; Jenny Angel (Secretary); Evelyn Corsini; Volkan Efe; Annette Goodro (Treasurer, non-voting member); Juliet Jenkins (Non-voting member); Nancy Linde (Chair); Haixi Liu; Millie Rahn; Rebecca Richards; and May Ye.

The Belmont Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

State Representative Dave Rogers says of these grants:  “The Belmont Cultural Council plays a large role in enriching our community, and these grants will help individuals and organizations tremendously. The public health emergency has impacted the arts community profoundly. Now more than ever, we need to support the cultural arts, sciences, and humanities education.”

Meanwhile, State Senator Will Brownsberger reaffirms his support of the local artists and cultural organizations across the state: “Now, more than ever, as we struggle to understand a changing world, the insights offered by art are essential.  I’m grateful to the Belmont Cultural Council for their hard work to identify and support promising artists.”

The Belmont Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. For guidelines and complete information on the Belmont Cultural Council, visit the Facebook page (, the website ( or email at Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at

Opinion: Systemic Racism in Belmont; Three Resolutions For 2021

Photo: Participants at a rally in Belmont’s Cushing Square condemning the murder of Henry Tapia

By Joe Bernard

One month has passed since Henry Tapia was murdered in Belmont. More than 100 of his friends and neighbors attended the vigil to honor his life and condemn racial violence, during which Kimberly Haley-Jackson, vice chair of the Belmont Human Rights Commission, memorably captured the weight of the moment with four sobering words: “Yes, Belmont, you too.”

At this point in our country’s history, it might be naïve to call a racist hate crime “shocking”, yet it undeniably sent shockwaves through Belmont. It should not have taken a murder for us to recognize that racism exists in our community, but that is what happened. 

What do we do next?

Prosecuting the racist who killed Henry Tapia is necessary, but it is not enough. Condemning overt racism and hatred is necessary, but it is not enough. Calls for justice will fall short of their goal if we do not acknowledge and disrupt systemic racism. We must find the ways that our structures and systems protect White supremacy, and we must resolve to change them.

Resolution 1: Empower a Diversity Director for Belmont Public Schools

Belmont Educators of Color and Allies (BECA) is a group of Belmont educators that was established in 2018 with the end goal of eliminating racism in our schools. During 2020, BECA conducted research and surveys with the specific intention of creating action items for the future of Belmont Public Schools. On Sept. 15, they presented their recommendations to the School Committee and heads of the School Department.

One of their recommendations was to hire a Diversity Director. This recommendation is foundational, provided that the position is granted sufficient power within the administration to implement the other recommendations: improving staff diversity, decolonizing the curriculum, arranging antiracist training, and more.

In the proverbial “American dream”, education is intertwined with character values like perseverance and grit. Conventional wisdom uses this paradigm to judge students and their families. Yet, for decades, Black and Brown students have faced more challenges and fewer opportunities, creating the feedback loop of White superiority and the model minority myth.

The impact of this cannot be ignored. In fact, it must be used affirmatively in future hiring decisions. In the words of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” Accordingly, Belmont Public Schools must commit to hiring a Black or Brown candidate for Diversity Director, whose lived experience can inform their approach to the real equity work of undoing and healing generations of violence, trauma, and inequity (for further reading, see We Want To Do More Than Survive by Bettina L. Love).

The good news is that the School Department’s preliminary FY22 Position Plan includes this position as one of 10.6 new full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to be hired for the upcoming school year. But I have heard questioning from influential town leadership and town committees about whether or not to fund all new FTEs in the final FY22 budget, even before the presentations were made showing them as conditional upon a successful override vote.

As of now, there is no certainty that a Diversity Director will be hired anytime soon. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the Diversity Director will be given sufficient power to lead meaningful change, without which the position falls flat, little more than a token hire to check off a to-do list.

To address systemic racism in Belmont, we must ensure that the Diversity Director position is treated as the number one priority — not subjected to funding delays or budget cuts — and is promptly filled by hiring and truly empowering a person of color.

Resolution 2: Allow affordable housing, in addition to Affordable Housing

Chapter 40B, the state’s Affordable Housing law, is a frequent topic of conversation in town. For example, last September’s Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved, by a vote of 256–5, the McLean zoning amendment that will allow a new 40B residential development to proceed. This was great news, as research has shown that segregation is reduced by building a mix of housing types and ensuring that it is affordable to a more diverse set of residents.

But while we continue to acknowledge and act upon the importance of (uppercase) Affordable Housing, let’s not sleep on the impact of (lowercase) affordable housing. That is, allowing the construction or conversion of modest two-family dwellings in place of single-family dwellings, to make our town more accessible to moderate and middle-income residents, welcoming more diversity without using Chapter 40B.

Single-family zoning laws in America have origins in blatant racism. Across the country in the early 20th century, suburbs used this type of zoning to segregate their neighborhoods without the explicit racial zoning that the Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional (for further reading, see The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein). Yet despite such disgraceful roots, single-family zoning is still venerated by some as the source of suburban “character”, vital to the very existence of suburbs. Similar rhetoric is commonplace in Belmont, and is even written into our Zoning By-Law, which states the purpose of our General Residence Zoning is “controlling density and preserving the character of the associated neighborhoods”.

The construction of a two-family dwelling is not allowed by right anywhere in Belmont. In Single Residence districts, it is strictly prohibited; in General Residence districts, it is allowed only under a Special Permit from the Planning Board, a deliberate extra hurdle. This zoning is a textbook example of what the Brookings Institution and the Boston Foundation recently called out as intentionally restricting the dynamic functioning of the Greater Boston housing market. “Greater Boston’s persistent residential segregation, both racial and economic, has been caused in part by legal prohibitions against the construction of diverse, lower-cost housing options like townhomes, duplexes and small apartment buildings.”

But while the Planning Board possesses a lot of power as the decision-making body, they are not making unilateral decisions to force housing production outcomes. Quite the opposite, I have observed that they are eager for public input and appreciative to receive it from any perspective. Therefore, it seems that some permitting decisions are simply reactions to the voices that they heard the loudest, which means that we need affordable housing advocates to be actively organizing petitions and attending public meetings.

To address systemic racism in Belmont, we must recognize that our 40B Affordable Housing projects are not “enough”, and actively advocate for more multi-family options that will allow an affordable housing market to function.

Resolution 3: Withdraw from Civil Service

The Civil Service system was established by state law in 1884 to eliminate favoritism in the hiring and promotion of public safety employees by providing a merit-based system for all municipalities that choose to participate. Belmont adopted Civil Service for our firefighters and police officers in 1915. The core components of the system are: 1) administering entrance/promotional exams and 2) restricting hires/promotions to a ranked list of candidates. Exam results are combined with other distinct criteria to generate the ranked list, from which a municipality is required to hire/promote from the top.

On its face, this may seem to be an equitable system. However, upon closer inspection of the criteria that are used, it becomes evident that the ranked list is more biased than objective. The demographics of law enforcement and firefighters skew heavily towards White males, which the Civil Service system does more to preserve than to change. Even departments that recognize their own lack of diversity and want to change cannot do so when they are legally bound to the restrictions of Civil Service.

In a July 2020 report and webinar titled The Diversity Deficit: Municipal Employees in Metro Boston, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) detailed key findings and best practices from an analysis of municipal employee demographics. MAPC is a regional planning agency established by state law in 1963 to promote smart growth and regional collaboration among the 101 cities and towns of Metro Boston, including Belmont. Among the best practices they found to address barriers to diversity in municipal workforces was withdrawal from Civil Service.

Why does the Civil Service system have a discriminatory effect? One reason is the veteran preference, which ranks veterans that pass the exam above nonveterans who scored higher. Despite any merits of this preference, the fact is that our veterans are overwhelmingly White males: 72 percent of veterans aged 18–34, compared to 36 percent of the total population aged 18–34, according to statewide census data. Another reason is the residency preference, which gives preference to a candidate that lived in Belmont for a full year before taking the entrance exam. Considering the annual base salary for an entry-level firefighter or police officer in Belmont is approximately $50,000, the lack of affordable housing and the residency preference work hand-in-hand to perpetuate existing demographics in public safety departments.

Withdrawal from Civil Service does not necessarily mean that a veteran preference or residency preference have to be eliminated. Such preferences can be included in the hiring policy that would replace it. But this policy can weigh other important factors as well, and removing the strict legal requirement to adhere to a ranked list effectively addresses the barriers to diversity while providing a larger applicant pool.

Belmont’s withdrawal from Civil Service has already been considered very recently, when the Select Board placed a question to that effect on the warrant for Town Meeting in September 2020. Vocal opposition to this warrant article was heard across town, particularly from our local police and firefighters unions. But it doesn’t have to be so adversarial and divisive. Many other cities and towns have withdrawn from Civil Service in recent years, so Belmont has plenty of examples to use for mapping our path forward.

While we can hope that town and union representatives find a mutually agreeable way to do so, to address systemic racism in Belmont, we must withdraw from Civil Service one way or another.

Renée Graham, during her keynote speech at Belmont’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Community Celebration, observed that people tend to think that racism is a problem elsewhere, not in their own community. Well, the fact that racism is a problem in our own community was brutally exposed. And yet, beyond the hatred of overt racism, we must also see that seemingly race-neutral policies and decisions are not harmless.

Belmont’s systemic racism will not be eliminated by inaction or good intentions. Antiracist progress must be made with deliberate policy decisions. The three that I have outlined here are not an exhaustive list nor the end of the road — there will be more work to be done — but we cannot let the magnitude of the problem discourage us from taking steps towards progress. These steps must be taken in 2021.

Joe Bernard is a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 3. As the father of two Butler School students, his favorite community involvement is coaching youth sports, as well as volunteering for the PTA. He is an active member of Community Organized for Solidarity and Belmont Against Racism.

COVID Ends Belmont Boys Hockey’s Chance To Be Solo Champions For A Second Time In A Year


For the second time in less than a year, the Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey team saw its chances of playing in a championship game cancelled as the Marauders’ Saturday, Jan. 20, match with Winchester in the first-ever Middlesex League tournament was scraped Friday night due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Middlesex League has declared the teams co-titlists.

In March 2020, the finals of the MIAA Division 1 state tournament between Belmont and Walpole was postponed when the first surge of the coronavirus spread across the country and the teams were declared state co-champions.

The abrupt end of the season, and also the careers of one of the most winningest senior classes, came after Belmont earned a place in the finals with a pair of nail biting tournament games in which the Marauders won both matches in extra time.

After dispatching Wakefield with 3.2 seconds left in a 3-on-3 overtime session Wednesday, the Marauders came back the next day to prevail, 2-1, in a shootout over league powerhouse Arlington.

Belmont came into the game having twice been shut out by the SpyPonders in the previous week, giving up nine goals in the two matches. Despite Arlington’s advantage on offense in setting the tempo and scoring chances, the Marauders had an answer in the guise of sophomore goaltender Ryan Griffin and senior captain Tom Grace who lead the defense.

When the Belmont coaching staff selected the three players to take the sudden death penalty shots, they needed to only look to the Fici brothers – senior captain Ben Fici and sophomore standout Cam – to seal the deal.

After Arlington’s Jack Sadowski scored first in the second round of shots, Ben Fici threw off Arlington goalie Jack Davies with a quick move to his right and roofed a backhand by the sophomore netminder to tie the shootout at one.

It was now Griffins time to shine as he blocked Reid Malatesta’s attempted to go between the pads. With the game on the line, Cam Fici took it in close and shoved a shot through Davies’ pads to hit the side netting for the winning goal.

Belmont finished the shortened season with a record of 7-3-1.

Three Belmont Teams In Middlesex League Tournaments Starting Wednesday

Photo: Belmont teams are participating in a first-ever Middlesex League championship tournament.

The regular season might be over but three Belmont teams will be playing on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of a first ever Middlesex League championship tournament.

Boys’ Hockey and Girls’ Hockey and Basketball are playing in this impromptu playoff as the Middlesex League is following the examples of other athletic conferences by adding a tournament in place of the MIAA interscholastic championships which have been suspended for the school year.

Wednesday’s schedule includes:

  • Third seed Boy’s Hockey will play host to Wakefield at noon, Wednesday at John A. Ryan Area in Watertown. You can catch the game on cable – Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon – or on the web at
  • Girls’ Basketball, the fourth ranked team will play long time rivals Watertown at 2:30 p.m. While Belmont is the home team, the game will be played at Watertown High School. Watch the game on Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon or at
  • Finally, fourth seed Girls’ Hockey takes on Winchester at 7 p.m. at the Burlington Ice Palace. You can see the game on Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon and on the web at

Let The Races Begin: Here Is The 2021 Belmont Town Election Ballot

Photo: The ballot has been set for the Belmont Town Election, 2021

Races for School Committee, Board of Health and Housing Board highlight the 2021 Belmont Town Election as Town Clerk Ellen Cushman closed the nomination process at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Five candidates, including the two incumbents – Tara Donner and Evelyn Gomez – will be seeking the pair of seats on the school committee. The race will pit the current committee’s “safety first” approach to introducing students back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic against a pair of candidates – Meghan Moriarty and Jamal Saeh – who believe children can safely be placed back in classrooms now.

One town-wide office that will not be contested is the Select Board as three-term board member Mark Paolillo will return to the three-person council since retiring in 2019. Also, Mike Widmer will be seeking his 13th one-year term as Town Moderator.

Over on the Town Meeting side of the ledger, both precincts 5 and 6 will have a donnybrook on Election Day, April 6, as 15 candidates will be seeking 12 seats. The number of open seats that will require write-ins this year is limited to Precinct 7 with three 3 year openings and a partial 2 year opening in Precinct 4.

The Town-wide offices up for grabs on April 6 include:

* = incumbent

Moderator (1 year)

Mike Widmer *

Select Board (one for 3 years)

Mark Paolillo

Board of Assessors (one for 3 years)

Charles Clark

Cemetery Commissioners (one for 3 years)

Ellen O’Brien Cushman *

Board of Health (one for 3 years)

Stephen Fiore *

Adienne Allen

Housing Board (one for 5 years)

Anne Mahon *

Tommasina Olson

Housing Board (one for 4 years)

Sarah Bilodeau

Library Trustee (two for 3 years)

Elaine Allgood *

Corinne McCue Olmsted *

School Committee (two for 3 years)

Tara Donner *

Timothy Flood

Evelyn Gomez *

Meghan Moriarty

Jamal Saeh

Absentee Ballot Applications Coming With Your Light Bill

Photo: Look in your Light bill for the application.

Due to the latest pandemic surge, the Belmont Town Clerk’s Office and Board of Registrars of Voters has collaborated with Belmont Light to include an application to receive an absentee ballot in customer’s February bill.

If you feel you qualify, please forward your application to the Belmont Town Clerk as soon as possible. The application can be copied for additional voters. Once the ballots have been printed, they will be mailed to voters in the order applications are received.

For more information, head over to the Town Clerk’s web page under Elections: Vote By Mail.

What’s Open, Closed On Presidents Day/Washington’s Birthday

Photo: Washington and Lincoln birthday

Two for the price of one. Living in Massachusetts allows residents to have your choice of holidays to celebrate on the third Monday of February.

Presidents Day is a commemoration of the Feb. 22 birthday of George Washington. And since it falls near the Feb. 12 birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the federal government in 1971 included the two birthdays under the one holiday.

But the Bay State officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday” on the same day as the federal holiday. So take your pick.

Trash and recycling curbside pick up is delayed by a day.


Belmont Town offices and Belmont Light are closed.

• US Postal Service offices: Closed. No deliveries.

• Banks; although some branches will be open in supermarkets.

• MBTA: Operating on a Saturday schedule. See for details.

What’s Opened:

• Retail stores

• Coffee shops; Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are open

• Supermarkets

• Convenience stores and,

• Establishments that sell beer and wine are also allowed to be open.

Here’s Your Chance: Precincts Have Open Town Meeting Seats To Be Filled


Unless a crowd of masked residents waving nomination papers show up outside Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 16, it’s likely only two of Belmont’s eight precincts will have competitive races to fill Town Meeting seats up for grabs at the Town Election on April 6.

A draft ballot produced by Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman’s office on Thursday, Feb. 12 – four days before the nomination deadline on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. – indicated that residents in Precinct 3 and Precinct 6 will have competitive races for Town Meeting. Three precincts (2, 5 and 8) have the required 12 candidates running.

  • Precinct 1: 11 of 12 including one one-year term still wanting a candidate.
  • Precinct 2: 12 of 12 including one candidate for a two-year seat and no one for the single-year term.
  • Precinct 3: 13 for 12
  • Precinct 4: 10 for 12 including no takers for a two-year term
  • Precinct 5: 12 for 12
  • Precinct 6: 14 for 12
  • Precinct 7: 9 for 12 and no one seeking the one-year term.
  • Precinct 8: 12 for 12 with a candidate for the lone two-year seat.

In four of the precincts, partial term seats – for either one or two years to fill the terms of Town Meeting Members who relinquished their posts – have not attracted a candidate.

If you have taken nomination papers out but have not yet turned them in, there’s still time. The deadline to turn in nomination papers is Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. DO NOT put them into the Town Clerk’s drop box; make sure you call the Clerk’s Office at 617-993-2603 when you arrive at Town Hall. We prefer papers turned in at 9 p.m. and 3 p.m. but on Tuesday, we will take them anytime.