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Easthampton school leaders host forum on proposed $1.4 million property tax override

EASTHAMPTON - City residents will have another chance at 7 p.m. Thursday to ask questions about the proposed $1.4 million property tax override measure that is on the ballot Tuesday.

The city school department will host a public forum on Question 4 in the music room of White Brook Middle School. School Committee members, administrators and teachers will be on hand to present information about how the schools will use the added tax revenues if voters approve the override. The measure has been presented as a “restoration and investment” strategy to restore staff and programs that have been cut over the past few years and also fund new technology upgrades and world languages instruction beginning in the elementary grades.

Superintendent Nancy Follansbee said school leaders will also share information about what will happen if voters do not approve the override. She said preliminary estimates show a potential $900,000 budget gap for 2014 that will require further cuts in school staff and programs.

For more information about tonight’s forum, call the school department’s main office at 529-1500.

Chorus performs

Maple Elementary school’s fourth-grade chorus is preparing for a moment in the sports spotlight.

Chorus members will be performing the National Anthem at the Springfield Falcons ice hockey game scheduled for Nov. 9 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

‘Run for Kids’ winners

Close to 90 people took part in the second annual “Run for Kids” on Oct. 22 that raised $7,300 for the Northeast Center for Youth and Families on East Street. Of those, 21 runners were from Easthampton.

Jason Lukasiewicz, 31, of Easthampton was the winner in the men’s division of the 5K race, with a time of 19:19. Angela Bean, 30, of Worcester, was first in the women’s division, with a time of 23:13.

In the children’s event, Dion Byrd, 9, of Chicopee was the winner in the boy’s division and Summer Collins, 7, of Easthampton won for the girls.

Suzanne Welch, grant writer for the Northeast Center, said 40 volunteers worked the event. Fundraising totals exceeded the $5,000 raised last year. The center serves about 600 children and teens through its Tri-County School, foster care and other family support programs.

Save the date

The Easthampton High School Key Club will hold its second annual Children’s Holiday Fair and Craft Bazaar fundraiser Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the high school cafeteria and gym.

The event will feature game booths, face painting, baked goods, an author book sale and signing, crafts with Mrs. Claus and a visit and photo opportunity with Santa. The club is sponsoring a coloring contest for children up to 9 years old. Entry sheets are available at the high school’s main office and are should be returned by Nov. 13. Prizes for each age category will be announced at the fair.

Proceeds will benefit the Key Club’s Create a Dream Community Holiday Gift Fund which buys holiday gifts for needy local families.

“The last few years has proven to be more difficult to meet the community level of need,” noted EHS English teacher Joan Bonsignore, who coordinates the effort. “The requests for gifts has gone up.”

Barbara Solow can be reached at BSolow@gazettenet.com.

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