Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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New ‘means’ needed for Easthampton schools

To the editor:

I would like to take another opportunity to address some of the letters my fellow citizens of Easthampton have submitted recently with regards to the property tax override:

First, thank you to Emil Schanzer for correctly identifying the actual cause of our problems; many people seem to believe that poor local management is at fault, when the chief problem is actually the increasing squeeze as federal and state funds are cut back.

However, it’s all well and good for Schanzer to say that he understands the problem as a parent because he has a son in high school; his son will be leaving the system soon, and has already benefited from a stronger school of the past. What about my son, who will be entering the schools in a year or two? What about all of our younger children in town? How is it fair to expect them to suffer, to put their futures at stake? They only get one shot at a decent education. We forced the schools to cut back in 2004 and “live within their means,” and they had to cut almost 40 positions and special educational services as a result.

Now we are asking them to sacrifice ever further. The phrase “you can’t get blood from a stone” comes to mind. Please understand, if we cynically demand that our schools “live within their means” as opposed to making the long-term commitment to giving our kids a world-class education, we will be shortchanging the entire city. If families and businesses see that Easthampton is unwilling to invest in our future, our children, they will be less apt to settle down and start businesses here. Indeed, the economic recovery Schanzer speaks of may pass Easthampton by as a result.

I urge you all to please vote yes on Question 4 on Nov. 6.

Joshua Mintzer

Easthampton

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