Letter: Increase funding for vocational education

Phoebie Perez,16, works on a project in electrical shop at Smith Vocational on Thursday morning, Jan. 11, 2024.

Phoebie Perez,16, works on a project in electrical shop at Smith Vocational on Thursday morning, Jan. 11, 2024. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Published: 01-17-2024 3:56 PM

With regards to the article “School leaders balk at lottery for vocational ed” [Gazette, Jan. 13], I was most impressed with Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School Superintendent Andy Linkenhoker’s final statement that ideally the answer is more seats. “If we have 300 applicants, why can’t we take all 300?” Why not, indeed. More students and their families want a vocational education than there are openings, and there is a great need for training in these professions.

Students who graduate from vocational school will most likely not be utilizing taxpayer-subsidized state college tuition, so steering an increase of tax dollars to vocational education could provide more equitable educational options. Where could the funding for more vocational education come from? How about reviewing the generous salaries of the highest paid Massachusetts state employees to start. I do not begrudge anyone a fair salary for their training and expertise, and appreciated that the commonwealth wants the best possible people in positions of responsibility, but perhaps even a modest redistribution of taxpayer dollars could yield an increase in vocational education funding and a bigger investment in the Commonwealth’s future.

Janet Sharp

Florence

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