Five (Easy) Steps to Save Our Town and Schools

Hey all. I’m just reposting a great e-mail from Belmont parent Ellen Schreiber that came out of last night’s meeting to discuss the proposed cuts to critical town and school services and what we, as Belmont residents, can do to push back against the cut education/cut services group-think that prevails among the Board of Selectmen, Warrant Committee and even some residents.

Many of you have written me to ask me what you can do to get involved. Ellen’s e-mail provides a very nice checklist that begins with attending tonight’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting at 7:15 pm at Town Hall and urging them to put a Proposition 2 1/2 Override on the ballot for the town wide election that’s scheduled for April. Without that first step, it will be impossible to address the funding gap that’s threatening to undermine what has been one of the state’s top performing school districts.

Here’s Ellen’s message:

Dear Friends,

Several important notes about the Belmont school budget crisis:

1. Board of Selectman meeting, tonight (Mon, 1/31, arrive at 7:15)

Can you come to an important Board of Selectman Meeting tonight at Town Hall at 7:30?  When it begins there will be a chance for citizens to voice their concern about the horrible cuts in store for our children next year. Some people will be standing up to ask the Selectmen if they intend to do anything to try to alleviate the damage done to the public schools with the revenue budget that has been determined for the schools. While none of you need to stand up and share your opinions, we need to fill the room with parents tonight to show that we are not letting this slip by….that the futures of the children of Belmont matter. An override is an important piece of the budget solution, which means we need to persuade the selectmen to put an override on the April 4 ballot. The deadline for this is February 28, and they only have TWO meetings between now and then (tonight and Feb 7). Please let me know if you can join me at the meeting tonight.

2. Email the our Selectmen – Ralph Jones, Mark Paolillo, and Angelo Firenze

Tomorrow, after we see what happens at tonight’s meeting, I will send you another email asking you to send an email to the Board of Selectmen. We have a very short amount of time to convince them to put an override on the ballot, and they will need to hear from a lot of voters if they are going to be swayed. Stay tuned!

[Editors note: You can email the Selectmen at selectmen@belmont-ma.gov, and  RalphAngelo and Mark individually at their town e-mail addresses. Let me know if you get any bounce-backs from these addresses - I'm pretty sure they're accurate, but I could be wrong - Paul.]

3. Join the email listserve for Save our Schools – Save our Town

We have formed a listserve for people who are concerned about the budget situation. You can join the listserve at http://groups.google.com/group/saveourschools-saveourtown.

4. Upcoming Board of Selectman & Warrant Committee meetings

One piece of the strategy is to try to pack the upcoming Board of Selectmen and Warrant Committee meetings with parents – unfortunately, they won’t believe we care unless they see us. We have sign up sheets on Google Docs – please visit and sign up to attend one or more meetings. There is one page for each meeting – navigate to the right page andyou’re your name to the list. Your presence will speak volumes!

5. Please forward this email to other Belmont parents, friends and neighbors

We are going to need vast numbers of supporters to fix this budget situation. Please help build the groundswell of support.

Thanks,

Ellen

  • Qwerty100

    What a dupe you and the parents are for Entwhistle and the School Committee. The Warrant Committee and the Board of Selectmen are perfectly correct to assume that the school administration is not forthcoming about the budget and what can be cut. For example, METCO is severely underfunded and Belmont taxpayers are paying anywhere from $1 to 3M+ to fund the program. We don’t really know the true numbers because Entwhistle refuses to release them. Also, what other non-resident SPED costs are we covering? Exchange or F-1 visa students? METCO is wrongly being treated like a sacred cow even if it causes extreme financial distress to the town. This must change. Dropping METCO or requiring it to be fully funded (per pupil costs + SPED) must happen. An override is NOT NEEDED.

  • Anne Mahon

    Paul,
    Thanks so much for keeping parent’s in touch with what’s happening in our town. So often people don’t pay attention to the cuts being made and yet expect these same children to pay off their deficit. I am so grateful for your involvement and applaud you…LOUDLY!