NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 2, 2014

Uniting to secure school funding

To the editor:

They’ve come together through a unified purpose: to maintain the highest educational standards possible for their city’s student population. While some might label them unlikely partners in a common cause, a local advocacy group called I Support Amesbury Schools is comprised of a surprisingly wide range of participants, many of them parents of school-age children, along with quite a few others who fall into categories such as senior citizens, retirees, singles and couples with no children. Their effort focuses on one single goal: to convince the Amesbury School Committee to vote to reconsider spending an additional $330,000 in order to reinstate four teachers whose jobs were cut in this year’s annual budget.

The School Committee will meet tonight. Bright red and white I Support Amesbury Schools signs have popped up on front lawns around many neighborhoods and a petition is being circulated to demonstrate the community’s desire to release the additional levy money. As of this letter, over 800 residents have signed the petition that clearly states how the budget money would be spent and acknowledges a small tax increase that would come with this added school expenditure.

Volunteer Dee Cote, a working mother of two boys in the Amesbury schools, spent last Friday afternoon distributing signs and asking her neighbors for signatures. “I’ve been happily surprised at how many people, especially people without kids in the schools, are willing to sign this petition. I’m careful to have them read it all the way through to the line that talks about the relatively small tax increase (approximately $52 per family) that will be inevitable if this spending is passed, but many people feel it’s well worth it to support our school system.” The group’s goal is to reach 1,000 signatures by tonight’s School Committee meeting.

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