Stephanie Pick: Students deserve more than bare minimum
To the editor:
As a citizen of a community, it is not a punishment, but rather an obligation, to pay taxes which provide for the health, education, welfare and safety for all those who dwell in our community and to help our neighbors live better in theirs. It is our privilege to elect politicians who embrace our values and who will decide how to spend those taxes.
Determining a tax rate should not be about how little we can get away with.
If our larger governments do not tax us adequately, then we need more autonomy than Proposition 2½ provides to make decisions about what we value most.
If the state cannot distribute sufficient funding for adequate police and fire services per person and home, for sufficient public works monies for road miles in our district, for comprehensive education for our children, and respectful salaries for all the people who serve us, then we must do this for ourselves. It’s not that Northampton is mismanaging our monies; we have not been funded enough to manage. It is not that we don’t live within our means; our means have not kept up with inflation. I am not eager to pay more taxes but I firmly believe that we must support ourselves better than we are currently being supported.
As a School Committee member, I do not want to vote a budget that merely meets our legal obligations. Because our state Department of Education does not require that we provide adequate art, music, technology, athletics, transportation, guidance, support services, textbooks and supplies, does not mean that we should not provide them. Education should be about giving our children what they need to go forward as well-rounded, responsible citizens who appreciate and improve the world around them.
I commend Mayor David Narkewicz for creating an override plan that reaches out four years to support Northampton in moving ahead with a more stable foundation.
We need politicians who make well-reasoned decisions about how to tax us and how to spend our money. Please vote yes June 25.