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That was my reaction when I heard the cost for the new 7-12 school.  

I was a sceptic.  My children have been out of the Belmont school system since 2007.  How could things have gone so far in just 11 years?

So I decided to read and listen.  I learned that more than 100 additional children have been entering Belmont schools per year for the last 7 years.  Seven hundred more children in the system than when my children attended.  And growth is expected to continue.

I learned that every school in the system has already converted non-classroom space into classroom space or added modules to handle the increase in students.

I learned that unless we approve and fund the new 7-12 building, we will need to do work on every other school building in the next few years to address overcrowding.  This proposal builds one new building but provides a solution for the problems facing the remaining five buildings.

And there is $80 million from the State that is available only for this project.  This reduces the cost of the 7-12 project to $213 million.  If we vote no, it is estimated it will cost Belmont about $247 million to address the overcrowding issues in all the schools while taking much more time and disruption.

What impact does overcrowding have at the high school?  One example is that not all students in a science class can actually carry out the experiments because there is not enough room – they must peer over shoulders.  Even I could carry out my own experiments in high school – that’s pretty basic!

Okay, I get it – we need a new high school – but the cost!  How could it cost so much?  I am running out of space – there is excellent information on cost at the website – yesforbelmont.org.  Take some time to review it in detail.  The short answer is – lots of students!  And costs will just keep going up – I don’t see that changing.  [similar to the market value of my house]  

I have decided that we owe the children in Belmont a decent school building in which to learn.  My neighbors did it for me back in 1994 with the new Chenery.  Now it is my turn.

I plan to vote YES for the new 7-12 school on Tuesday Nov. 6.   I hope you will too.  

Holly Stratford
97 Alexander Ave