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Nat Reade: Mayor right to consider Smith Vocational change

To the editor:

I don’t know anything about Smith Vocational or its budget. I do think, however, that we’re lucky in Northampton to have a mayor who’s willing to consider every option to deal with our money problems, no matter how hard or unpopular they might be.

Given all the cuts in our public schools over the past several years, we need to find new ways to be more efficient. Every afternoon on my street I see a Northampton High School bus go by, then a Smith Vocational bus go by, almost empty. Maybe under one administration they could double up? Maybe by eliminating duplicate administrators, such as two superintendants, we could save money?

And I have more questions: How come the superintendant of Smith Vocational wants to add programs, when at NHS they’re looking at more cuts to the bone? And are we really paying over $6 million per year to educate 107 Northampton students at Smith Vocational? That works out to almost $60,000 per student. And does Northampton pay about $6 million of Smith Vocational’s $8 million budget, or three quarters of it, when Northampton students only make up one quarter of its population?

In these tough times it seems like an important discussion, and I’m giving the mayor a standing ovation for getting it started.

Nat Reade



David Narkewicz commentary: Strength in combining schools

Monday, May 13, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — When I took the oath of office as mayor, I pledged to look at every aspect of our government to ensure quality, cost-effective city services and wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars. I’ve worked hard to keep my promise, but it’s meant asking tough questions and being unwilling to accept “because we’ve always done it this way” as a …

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