Why We Donated

Comments from donors that supported our schools via the SOS fund raising campaign for the 2007/2008 school year.

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5 Responses to “Why We Donated”

  1. Lynnette Fallon says:

    The Hamilton Wenham School District is seeking to offer a public education that at least meets national averages. Unfortunately, funding of public schools in MA, especially in suburban and rural towns, is currently being born almost exclusively by the residential tax payer. Because of past failed override votes, our selectmen and finance committee advised the school committee that they would not support an aggregate FY 2008 override for the two towns of more than $500K. This amount represented approximately 1/3 of the amount needed to maintain level services with FY 2007. The override passed with record approval levels in Hamilton (57.6%) and high levels in Wenham (73.9%). The schools need more money than our town officials let us approve. This year, we need to make up the difference out of our own private funds. Next year, we need to ensure that the voters get the opportunity to approve appropriate public funding for our public schools.

    Lynnette and Jerry Fallon

  2. tomrogers says:

    I hate to admit it, but when I learned that our School District was going to eliminate 22 full time positions this year, and that it added up to 80 since 2002, I seriously considered moving to Essex or Ipswich.

    OK, I was half serious; I love our community and I’ve invested too much in it to just walk away. It’s way to disruptive to move, and not cheap; the easy course of action for me was to donate my time to the SOS campaign and my money to the School District!

    Tom Rogers

  3. allara says:

    I am a child going into fifth grade at Cutler and I will be directly affected by the teaching change and I am not psyched about transferring! S.O.S, I love your cause and I am trying to start a fund raiser. I donated my own money. My friends might also donate. I am sure no one wants to get moved but the main reason we are donating is so my friend Patrick can come back to Cutler. You see, Patrick went to Scotland for a year for his dad’s business and went to school there. So now he is classified as ‘new’. The new principal is helpful but Patrick still can’t come here without S.O.S.

    Michael A

  4. Nancy Peterson says:

    My husband and I are contributing to the Support Our Schools campaign with both our time and our money. We want our children to have the best possible education at our local schools, and feel that the quality of the education provided is being severely jeopardized by all the budget cuts made over the past 4 years. By supporting this effort now we are hoping to restore some of the 22 teaching positions that have been cut this year, and stop the redistricting currently planned for 4th and 5th grade students. It is my fervent hope that our kids (who will be in kindergarten and first grade next year) will get the same quality of education that students got before all these cuts started.

    Nancy Peterson and Paul Driscoll

  5. SeeEnn says:

    Dear SOS Committee members,

    It is with some reluctance that my husband and I enclose a donation to the 2007 Save Our Schools campaign. We love our school system, and it is most certainly a worthy cause. However, having had children in the regional system since 2001, we see a disturbing trend forming.

    As you know, this is the second time in the last five years that SOS has quickly raised private funds to “save the day” and prevent the loss of a number of public school programs and services in response to under-funding by the towns of Wenham and Hamilton. While the goal is laudable, this is surely a short-sighted way to fund our schools. How can we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers and administrators when their positions are at risk year after year? How will our high school maintain its accreditation when we cannot guarantee funds to maintain the facilities from year to year? And yet, by not pressuring our town administrators, school committee, and fellow citizens to come up with long-term solutions to our budget woes and then “coming to the rescue” at the last minute with private funds, we encourage the trend to continue.

    Several emails and letters that we have received in the last few weeks from SOS speak of addressing the immediate needs now, and working towards a better solution later. This year, let’s make sure there IS a later. Please honor these donations by remaining active long after we’ve plugged the hole in the dike. Continue to keep us informed of SOS news and we will help! Encouraging the school board to present a more inclusive budget in future years is a start, but it won’t fix the bottom line, which is clearly a lack of town revenue. Many of us can afford higher tax rates, but many, especially seniors, cannot. And I believe there are some sticky ethical issues regarding private funding of public school systems. This is a district-wide problem that requires participation of the whole district to solve it!

    I’ve read that the town of Hamilton is paying $2500 to work with Northeastern University to examine ways to bring businesses into town without ruining the rural character that we all appreciate so much. Could Wenham be involved in something similar? Expanding our commercial tax base would be a boon to the town treasuries, and I personally would feel better about donating funds for a similar collaborative project, if money is not available in the town coffers, than I do about donating funds directly to the public schools. It may not solve the entire problem, but it would be a start.

    Funding our wonderful school system is going to be expensive and problematic for the foreseeable future. Together we can demand long-range planning NOW and stop settling for the last minute, “let’s wait and see” approach.

    In closing we thank all of you for the hard work you have done to save our schools once again. Our towns owe each of you a debt of gratitude, and we want you to know how much our family, in particular, appreciates what you’ve done this year.

    Very truly yours,

    Kim Aalfs and Chris Needham

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