The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the online edition of the Belmont Citizen Herald on March 18, 2021.

In just a few weeks, Belmont faces a crucial vote in our local election. Though it’s easy to pass off town elections as irrelevant, the environment, education, and financial security of our town and our neighbors are at risk, and you can help by voting “yes” on the override on April 6.

In recent weeks, as freak weather has ravaged states like Texas, we have reflected on our own town’s steps toward environmental action, which have fallen short of meeting our sustainability goals. Voting “yes” for the override opens the door for further sustainability practices, as a new building specialist can ensure net-zero and clean building practices to guide Belmont in meeting or exceeding our climate goals — saving both money and energy over the long haul.

As young students, we place the future of our planet at the forefront of our concerns and we rely on adults to help us reach these goals.

As high schoolers who have reaped the benefits of Belmont’s rigorous music programs, AP courses, athletics, and dedicated faculty and staff, we consider the override crucial to our future in the classroom. With $2.07 million at risk of being cut from the school budget, we fear the loss of the programs where some of our fondest memories have been made. In orchestra this year we’ve had the chance to examine issues of environmental justice and racism, themes often left out of traditional music programs. In our AP science courses, we have critically examined climate change and the economic impacts of environmental destruction. These unique opportunities to learn beyond the textbook are fundamental facets of a Belmont education at risk of being lost. Voting “yes” on the override promises that Belmont students will continue to stand out as critical thinkers and conscientious citizens.

To us, the override represents a bright future. We implore you to consider the great disservice that cutting funding for sustainability, education, music, and athletics does to our community of passionate young people, and ask that you keep the young people of Belmont in mind as you head to the polls on April 6. We are so grateful for the opportunities that Belmont has given us, and we hope that children younger than us can continue to thrive in well-funded schools like we have. Thank you.

Margo Danahy (‘21), Rutledge Road 

Shanta Pai (‘22), Common Street

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