The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the online edition of the Belmont Citizen Herald on March 18, 2021.
My husband and I moved to Belmont 14 years ago. We moved to Belmont for many reasons; however, the primary reason was the school system. Over the past nine years, our sons have been taught by an amazing group of dedicated educators who have consistently been available to them, both in school and after school. They have been challenged and engaged in fun and diverse learning experiences. Throughout these years our kids have also had classrooms that were too cold, too hot, or too crowded. We have had kids in modular classrooms resulting in lost playground and outdoor space. We have sent in school supplies, responded to teacher wish lists, donated money for classroom technology, and supported the PTO and FBE. But Belmont’s kids deserve more. They deserve more than old buildings and reliance on parent donations for needed resources for their classrooms. It is a very reactive and ineffective way to fund education.
We need to be proactive. We need to fund our schools, which include buildings, educational materials and equipment, and qualified educators. This pandemic has illustrated the very real dangers of underfunding schools and the unfortunate consequences when we repeatedly need to prioritize funds (school building upkeep, diversified curriculum, curricular activities, class size). The most important thing is to consider what resources are needed now to support our students, teachers, and families so that we can give our students the tools they need to be successful citizens in a dynamic and changing world. The importance of a strong education, for both general and special education students, that promotes academic learning and social emotional wellness can not be ignored.
We need to address and mitigate the loss of educational programming over the last year and ensure that all of our students can thrive going forward.
Our children and educators will return to in person learning five days a week. We need to ensure that when they return, they are engaged in a robust and diverse curriculum within a school environment that challenges them and prepares them for post secondary education and life beyond.
I am urging you to vote yes for the override on April 6. Think not in terms of fiscal consequences rather in terms of investing in the future of our students and our town community.
Deirdre Walsh, Washington Street