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Ilan Korman: Support override, support better backing for education

To the editor:

In the wake of Northampton’s budget deficit, public school administrators have been left with no choice but to snip away at vital educational programs. Among the first teaching positions to be cut are those in the many art departments across the district. These classes range from performing arts to visual arts to technological arts — all of which are important to hundreds of students, as was demonstrated in the recent Rally for Creativity.

As a sophomore at Northampton High School who is dedicated to music and has already benefited tremendously from the top-notch music department, I cannot imagine a high school without its high quality arts programs. The fact that the creative branch of our school is first on the chopping block does not make any sense to me. I do not view so-called “academic” classes as more important to functioning as an independent adult. In fact, I think many of the practical skills I have acquired stem from more artistic classes and activities. The school band is a great example of the positive effect that elective classes can inspire.

From the moment I entered NHS, band has been a vital and integral part of my life. It was the band community (one of the few settings in which freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors work together) that welcomed me into the high school. In my four-year high school plan, band is written into seven of my eight semesters. There are many skills and concepts I have learned from this class: responsibility, work ethic, potential, creativity, discipline, courage, perseverance, problem-solving, innovation, expression, community.

The only way to immediately restore funding to our arts programs and overall education system is to pass an override of Proposition 2½. This will allow our city to maintain its high-quality education. The override will sustain our schools for four years. In the long term, however, we must all demand that our representatives make education a higher priority.

Ilan Korman

Florence

Legacy Comments1

It's unfortunate that students of our schools feel it necessary to repeat the false choice we've been presented by the mayor and other city officials: support a property tax override or we ravage the schools. Without proposing any other alternative cuts to other city departments or employee staffing levels, the mayor presents a budget that would cleave the schools while leaving other cost centers practically untouched. It's a divisive strategy that plays on fears and emotion and pits citizens against one another. All of us -- including those against the continued increase of a regressive tax that falls on those who can least afford it -- support a vibrant and well-funded school system. We can find other ways to trim costs in our city without jeopardizing students and parents.

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