NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 28, 2013

Tax increase needed to improve schools

(Continued)

I came across a website called GoLocal, which ranked high schools in Massachusetts. It ranked AHS 154 out of 344. That would put AHS in the 55th percentile in terms of quality, whereas Amesbury teachers are paid at the 50th percentile. Draw your own conclusions about whether you are getting your money’s worth.

Too much school administration is also a popular complaint among the public. When I came to AHS 44 years ago, there was a principal, an assistant principal, a full-time athletic director and department chairs for every subject. Now there is a principal who is in charge of two schools (AHS and the Academy), two assistants, one of whom is also the athletic director, and no department heads. There is actually less administration at AHS now than in 1969.

Now, will AHS continue to produce great results if, as currently, class sizes keep getting bigger (the typical math class is 30) and kids can’t even go to the library after school because of staffing cuts? I doubt it. You can’t keep cutting teachers/staff and expect no consequences. I’m a taxpayer in this town, but I honestly can’t see how the schools can be improved without a tax increase and you can’t increase the value of your property with inferior schools.

Barbara Leary

Amesbury

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