I am old.  Old enough that I graduated from Belmont’s Payson Park grammar school, the old junior high and the old, old high school (now the site of the Wellington) – Class of 1955.  And I support the new school for grades 7-12 that will be on the ballot on Tuesday, November 6.

All of my four kids went through the Belmont school system and three of my grandchildren have now graduated from Belmont High School and are all attending or have graduated from great colleges.

So why am I in favor of the new proposed 7-12 school?  Let me tell you.

First, my self-interest as a taxpayer.  Acquaint yourself with Plan B which is what happens if the debt exclusion vote is defeated.  To deal with the burgeoning enrollment, it involves a ten-year plan of a patchwork of modular classrooms throughout the school system, renovating the Chenery Middle School and renovating our 50‑year-old existing high school, costing Belmont’s taxpayers $247 million with no state aid.  If the debt exclusion vote succeeds, the new proposed 7-12 school, after $80 million of state aid, will cost Belmont’s taxpayers another $213 million; or, $34 million less.  The Massachusetts School Building Authority has made it clear that the plan for a new 7-12 school is the only one they will help to fund.

Second, “Belmont Schools – Why else do you think so many of our three-bedroom houses are now worth a million dollars?”  Enough said.

Third, it’s pay-it-forward time.  I and seven of my decedents have benefitted tremendously from the excellence of the Belmont Public Schools.  Belmont took care of us, and it is incumbent upon us that we take care of Belmont’s children now.

I urge you to vote YES on Question 4 for a new 7-12 school on Tuesday, November 6.

Bob McLaughlin
Wellesley Road.