Letter to the Editor: Putting the Minuteman Vote in Context

Photo: Norman Rockwell “The Watchmaker”

To the editor:

My father was a watchmaker; my son graduated from culinary school; my father-in-law was a tool and die maker. I respect the education and training provided by vocational-technical schools. I also understand the hopes of those who want to make the Minuteman School District work.

After almost three decades of working with Minuteman (on the Warrant Committee, School Committee, and Board of Selectmen), I think that efforts to reform Minuteman are unrealistic. Senator Brownsberger’s thoughtful analysis is persuasive. The Minuteman District is a broken system, and the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is not going to fix it.

If we vote “yes” on the Minuteman debt on September 20, we are committing ourselves to paying at least $10 million and probably closer to $14 million over the next 30 years. That decision, once made, is irrevocable.

We can save between $200,000 and $400,000 each year by becoming a non-member town, and still get a great Minuteman education for our students filling the approximately 300 non-member seats. Those savings can be spent on teachers for our growing school population; miles of paved sidewalks; debt service on a long list of capital projects.

Everyone who has devoted years of service trying to reform the Minuteman District agrees that we should vote “no” on September 20. The School Committee recommends “no” by a vote of 6-0. The Selectmen recommend “no” by a vote of 3-0. The Warrant Committee recommends “no” by a vote of 13-1.

Voting “no” on the Minuteman Debt is a better plan for Belmont.

Ralph T. Jones

Summit Road

Jones is a former Chair of the Board of Selectmen and former member of the School Committee and Warrant Committee.

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