To the editor:
Why do we live in Belmont?
We all know that we could use better roads: ours are bumpier, rockier, and rougher than neighboring towns, and we could use the funds to fix them.
But we came to Belmont for the sense of community, and for the opportunities the town provides, for children and for families: playgrounds, recreation centers, sports and music and, of course, our schools.
Belmont’s schools — not just test scores, but student experience — have been a reason to move here, to stay here, to buy and hold on to a home here.
But that could change. For year after year the town and the schools have been asked to do more with less. And we have. We’ve given our high school students free periods when they used to have classes, and we’ve filled the halls with benches so that students with no classes to take have someplace to sit. Our student-teacher ratio (17 to 1) is already higher than almost all similar towns. We’ve lost a whole year of middle school language instruction. Our entering classes are larger than those before them, with many more kindergarteners than high school seniors, and we’ll have to hire more teachers just to keep up. A task force of experts worked with the town, studied the problem for a whole year, and concluded, unanimously, that we need an override now.
When similar towns have faced similar challenges, they have decided to pay for what they need. Arlington, Sudbury, Lexington, Winchester, Newton — all passed overrides since 2002, in greater amounts than the one on our ballot this year.
We could join them and keep our schools as good as they have been. We could vote Yes on April 7.
Or we could vote No, and see who moves away.
Please do remember to vote on April 7, and please vote Yes.