On April 6, we have an important choice to make about the future of Belmont.
We can go down one road without an override. Across town departments, positions would be frozen, and there would be layoffs. We’d have shiny new classrooms in a state-of-the-art school, but not enough educators to teach in them. In fact, ~21 full-time teaching and staff positions would be cut from next year’s budget, with more cuts down the road. That would mean larger class sizes in a district that already has fewer teachers per student than 94% of all districts in the state — as well as possible cuts in art, music, theater, athletics or advanced placement classes. On Beech Street, there would be reductions in services for seniors. On Concord Avenue, the library might be forced to open fewer days a week or for shorter hours. On Washington Street, a school roof at the end of its life could go unreplaced, causing even more expensive repairs down the road. Across town, there would be sidewalks and streets that go unrepaired, and diminished support from public safety. The list of possible cuts goes on. That is one path we could go down, and it’s a treacherous one.
Or we could choose a brighter, smoother way out of our town’s current structural deficit. This path would put us on a solid financial footing for the future. On this road, our new 7-12 School would live up to its full promise with a social worker, adequate numbers of teachers, and the AP classes and electives we expect. Across all our schools, every child — including those with disabilities — would have their individual needs met. On Beech Street, our seniors would finally have the social worker they need and deserve, and their programs would continue. On Concord Avenue, the library with the fourth-highest circulation per hour in the Commonwealth could continue to be a vital center of our social and intellectual life, serving everyone from babies and toddlers to senior citizens every day of the week.
On a sweltering day in August, this road might lead to the Underwood Pool, where families from all over town could continue to gather without massive increases in entrance fees. Across Belmont, from the Cambridge border to Belmont Hill, from Winn Brook to Kendall Gardens, from Unity Corner to Cushing and Waverley Squares, our first responders would be able to react quickly to emergencies with adequate staff and vehicles. This is the road to a brighter future. This is the path we’re asking our fellow citizens to walk with us.
We know this road looks expensive now. We acknowledge that this has been a really difficult year. But in the long run, this road actually has fewer heavy tolls. It is more prudent financially. It is also more equitable for all citizens. That, after all, is the principle of taxation – to pool resources for a community to share in the common good – you might even say, to share in a Commonwealth. To fully realize our potential as One Belmont, there needs to be collective investment.
Come walk with us on this revitalized road. It won’t be perfectly smooth, but there will be fewer obstacles in our way. Vote for the Future. Vote Yes for Belmont on April 6.