Letter to the Editor: The Steak and Potatoes of Voting ‘Yes’ for the Override

Photo: Young “Yes” campaigners in Cushing Square on Saturday, March 28.

To the editor:

To the “distinguished” gentleman in the Lexus who gave me a thumbs down this morning [Saturday, March 28] when I was holding a YES for Belmont sign in Cushing Square:

Congratulations on your success.  I’m sure you worked hard for it.  As my 84-year-old father would say, you are driving the “steak and potatoes” of cars.

Maybe you own a house in Belmont. Maybe you bought it long before I bought mine in 2005, when home values were not so high. Maybe you had kids in the Belmont School District, a steak and potatoes school district if there ever was one.

And maybe your kids have done well too, partly as a result of that school district.  I congratulate you.

But the failure of the last override has already taken some steak and potatoes from my son, who did not enjoy fifth-grade foreign languages as those who preceded him in the school system had.  He wants to be an engineer some day; speaking Spanish will help.

My son is in sixth grade, and I purchased my condo in Waverley Square in great part to give him a steak and potatoes education.  I love Belmont and intend to spend the rest of my life here.

This morning [Saturday, March 28] he, an eighth grade friend and a tenth grade friend held signs in Cushing Square in support of the override (photo attached).

If this override does not pass, BHS juniors and seniors will be limited to five courses instead of seven.  This means almost two hours of “free time” in the school day! Chenery Middle School students will have larger class sizes and will lose the “small school within a big school” team teaching system that strengthens learning and helps them through the difficult early teenage years.  And elementary students will lose the intervention that helps struggling students catch up to their peers.

I urge all Belmont residents to vote YES April 7. Below is another way of looking at it. Belmont’s last operating override passed in 2002, 13 years ago. Since that time, similar communities have passed numerous overrides, totaling as follows:

$6.8 million in Acton
$12.5 million in Arlington
$6.2 million in Concord
$10 million in Lexington
$5.8 million in Milton
$7.6 million in Needham
$19.9 million in Newton
$10.3 million in Sudbury
$6.6 million in Wayland
$14.5 million in Wellesley
$5.9 million in Winchester

Belmont, $0

By the way, I drove over some nasty “hamburger and French fries” potholes this morning on my way to hold that YES sign. Those will be fixed too with this override!

Kate Searle

Beech Street

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Comments

  1. Tyler says

    Is there a legal document that this money is locked in to go to the schools? i don’t think there is i believe this type of an override is one that the town can spend however they please.. its just going to go to fund the unfunded pensions of town employees.. If this money was locked in to the school and that is where is was going to go i would be more for it. But as is i do not trust this town. They did this a while back and didn’t use the money at all as advertised. We already have such high taxes in this town compared to the rest of the state, why don’t people look at his town like a business and find areas not to waste money (cough… senior center… not building the new police station with the fire station). I have zero confidence in this towns abilities to manage money correctly and use it wisely.

  2. joe says

    I just recieved the warrant report on financial task force and noticed the teacher contract wae negotiated for exceeds the 2.5 growth allowd under current growth laws. Given that salareys and benifete consume 80+% of the school budget, how can the revenues possibly keep up? Breaking down the override monies……1.7 mil-school,2.8 for town ,1.8 of which is allocated to go to reserve for future use and we pay 2.5% interest…Outrages!!!!! Un funded mandates…. we pay not the school( the teachers) maybe if the teachers recieved 0% rais untill the State pays for what they demand of us. The teachers union, I bet, would do better at lobbying than our State reps have done?????

    • joe says

      your right the teachers contracts are the problem here.never mind there percentage raises they also get step raises for there first 15 years of there careers and more increases if they obtain higher degrees. I tell everyone to get a copy of there contract available from the human resources and really see where the money goes. There also in the top 20 in the state in salaries compared to other school systems . If you google it youll see there payed more than winchester ,lexington,etc and they have excellent schools at a less cost. Lets see all the facts before spending anymore. All the other depts in town are suffering greatly due to the greed of the schools.

      • Kate Searle says

        I am delighted our teachers are well paid. That’s how you attract the best teachers to your district. My son has had great teachers and they are worth what we pay them!!!

  3. Carole arenge says

    This morning I will pickup my new Subaru from the local dealership. I enjoy supporting local businesses….what I don’t enjoy is driving on the streets of this, my beloved town. I have said this from early on in this override campaign…..the dollars allocated for road repairs are insulting!

    I also gave the thumbs down last weekend, and encourage others to vote “No”.

    Carole Arenge

  4. Kimberly Becker says

    During the last override I held signs in the rain in Cushing Square as well. I was, however, not given a thumbs down, but instead I was given the finger by a gentleman in an SUV with children in the backseat. I wondered if he had them in private school, or if he, like so many other parents, just believes that the schools will somehow survive exactly as they are without his money. I applaud the author of this article for posting it because it speaks loudly and clearly. Well done.

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