Jim Young: We must find creative ways to support Northampton schools
To the editor:
I am a parent of three children who will attend Northampton public schools next year and am a graduate of public schools and a former member of the Northampton School Committee. I believe strongly in public education and am greatly concerned with the state of funding for our city’s schools.
Each year we go through the process of trying to do the same with less.
And each year we have to cut more staff and services because revenue isn’t keeping up with expenses. These burdens are borne not only by the dedicated teachers and administrators whose livelihood is threatened by the structural deficits in Massachusetts public education, but also our children.
Members of our community and others are working with the state on tax reform that will provide meaningful increases to local aid. But I believe we’ve come to the unfortunate point where we have to consider more aggressively — and immediately — tapping into private funding to prop up our public schools. We already contribute private money through athletic fees and PTO fundraisers.
I think we need bigger dollars. Here are two ideas:
Run a fundraising campaign to raise $250,000 for next year’s school budget. Can we find 1,000 people willing to give $250 each? Think about purchases that could be put off, or grandparents who want to help. If it works, keep doing it every year.
Organize a campaign where local merchants switch their credit card processing vendor to one that directs a portion of every “swipe fee” to public schools. This exists, but it takes community involvement to achieve it.
I attended the NHS production of “Annie” last weekend with my two daughters. I want them to be Annie some day. If we keep cutting, it won’t happen.
Let’s get creative, Northampton. Time’s running short.