Last week, the Newton PTO Council voted overwhelmingly to support the Mayor’s proposed override package. A yes vote on the override package, which includes three ballot questions, insures that the children of Newton get the education they deserve, in facilities that address their needs.
Our schools are facing serious enrollment issues, budgetary pressures, and deteriorating facilities. For Newton to continue to uphold its standard of educational excellence, we need improved buildings, more teachers and greater funding for our schools.
To receive the full benefits of this override, the three ballot questions should be viewed as one. One ballot question provides for a debt exclusion to finance the reconstruction of Angier Elementary, a 90 year old building whose physical condition is among the worst in the state. Another ballot question provides for a debt exclusion to finance the reconstruction of Cabot Elementary, also an old building in a compromised physical state. The third ballot question provides for an increase in the city’s operating budget of $8.4 million, including money for the rehabilitation of Zervas Elementary, modulars at 4 schools, salaries for additional teachers, and funding for police, fire and infrastructure.
As a package, the proposed override provides sorely needed space for the increasing enrollment at our schools, and the teachers to fill those spaces. Without teachers, we can’t use the space, and without space, we can’t accommodate more students without seriously compromising our educational standards and values.
While our main organizational concern is our children’s education, we believe this override package will benefit the city as a whole. As schools improve, our reputation of educational excellence continues to grow, increasing our property values and Newton’s desirability as a top place to live.
On March 12, please vote for our schools and our community by voting Yes on all three ballot questions.
--Frieda Dweck, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Rhanna Kidwell
Co-Presidents, Newton PTO Council