Teachers and services hang in the balance

This week, the finance and advisory committees of Hamilton and Wenham will meet jointly to discuss school funding for next year. The fincoms have not heard much from parents yet this year, and they are facing tough decisions.

Can you send an email to the fincoms today and urge them to recommend a Fair Share appropriation for the school district? Email the Hamilton finance committee at [email protected] and Wenham finance director Sarah Johnson at [email protected].

Here’s what you need to know:

SOS is promoting a "Fair Share" appropriation to the schools for fiscal year 2011 (see details here). The Fair Share is not an override or a debt exclusion, and it does not require a special election. It is the school district’s Fair Share of the money the towns legally have available to them under Proposition 2½ for appropriation at Town Meeting.

Right now, the School Committee’s preliminary budget shows 25 full-time equivalent teaching positions must be cut. A Fair Share appropriation can save 4 or even 5 of those positions.

Even with the Fair Share appropriation, we are facing the prospect of a school system with a "devalued diploma" – the school district’s own term for what will happen at the High School next year. This is bad for our property values and bad for our students, whether they’re at the High School or just starting Kindergarten.

Let the towns know that you want a Fair Share of your tax dollars to go towards minimizing the damage to your children’s school services.

Email Hamilton fincom at [email protected] and Wenham finance director Sarah Johnson at [email protected] and urge them to recommend a Fair Share appropriation for the school district.

Thank you for taking this critical first step in minimizing damage to our towns’ greatest asset – our school system.

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