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Julie Thomas: Mayor’s plan resembles ‘hostile takeover’

To the editor:

Mayor David Narkewicz’s proposal can only be defined as a “hostile takeover” targeting Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. The mayor continues to pursue this takeover without the financial working knowledge or the concept of the school. Most disturbing is his willingness to do this without consideration of the students and the incomparable education provided at SVHS.

Narkewicz’s inability to run a city within the budget along with his willingness to decimate the exceptional education provided at Smith Vocational demonstrates his lack of judgment and reckless irresponsibility.

It has exposed him as an ineffective and precarious mayor. I believe his actions could lead to layoffs and cuts for Smith Vocational.

This proposal is a disgrace and a slap in the face to Oliver Smith, who provided the funding to establish the school. It brings great shame on Northampton and the mayor to even propose this and will bring great shame on the Northampton City Council if its supports him in this ill-conceived idea.

Perhaps the mayor needs to make the tough decision by challenging charter schools, which drain our public school budget, as well as re-evaluate the amount of Smith College’s property tax exemption.

The fact is that Smith Vocational works within its budget and provides an outstanding education to our children.

I can only hope in the election in November someone will run against Narkewicz and win the job he is unable to do.

Julie Thomas


Julie Thomas is a member of the Smith Vocational class of 1982.

Legacy Comments2

Sorry that you feel your old school is under attack, but glad you don't vote in Northampton, because this letter is packed with inaccuracies about our mayor and the challenges he faces. Our city is getting financially squeezed from all directions, and has been for over a decade, and he's rightly looking for every potential source of waste. Two superintendents, two business managers, two sets of busses---that's waste we can no longer afford. Everybody is going to have to be willing to give up some of the old ways for the good of today's kids.

Where is the inaccuracy? He does not understand the financial running of Smith School; how could he when he gave inaccurate information on the costs of running the school omitting the fact that many of the said costs are paid for by tuition; Yes there will be cuts and layoffs; and not once did he show any concern for the students or their education. Clearly he does not have the specialized working knowledge of a vocational school, he is not an educator nor an administrator of a school. He is weak not to challenge Charter schools and school of choice which absorb much of the funding, and like the mayors prior to him, not willing to as re-evaluate the amount of Smith College’s property tax exemption. Yes, his actions are defined as a hostile take over, and yes it is a shameful that he is treating our children and their educational institution as a corporation. You want to talk about waste, start with the rotary at Look Park and work your way through Northampton. As for your comments on busses, transportation to and from Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School is the responsibility of each student’s sending school district. Where has he looked to cut costs within his own administration or elsewhere? How is this takeover "good" for the children attending Smith Vocational as you stated? Actually, my childhood home is in Northampton where it is maintained and taxes are paid. One area you are correct in, is that I do not vote in Northampton, but thankfully I have a very large family that does.

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