As Election Day nears, yard signs and door hangers have appeared around town making unsubstantiated claims that investing in our public schools is not in the best interest of Marblehead citizens. Every Marblehead voter who goes to the polls on June 21 has a decision to make on Question 2, but let’s make sure those decisions are guided by facts:
- The Marblehead Public Schools have a strategic plan. It’s on the website for anyone to review. It was created by a committee of 26 and with input from a wide cross-section of the community. Debate the merits of that plan if you want, but the plan exists and guided the development of the FY23 budget.
- The School Department budget is not created in a vacuum nor is it administered in secret. School leadership worked closely with Fin Com in developing the FY23 budget and Fin Com voted unanimously in support of the budget, including the override request. The School Department budget was presented and voted at Town Meeting. The same process will be followed in future years.
- It is true that Question 2 does not increase salaries for current teachers. It has been openly discussed at all levels of town government that a general operating override is coming and that school department salaries are likely to be part of that request.
- Instead, Question 2 supports our teachers by funding existing needs in our schools. These are the textbooks, microscopes, and stools needed in our classrooms right now; instructional technology required for modern day education; security upgrades and critical repairs to our facilities. Question 2 gives our teachers the tools and resources and environment they need to do their jobs.
If you don’t like the current leadership of our schools, whether that’s the individuals in charge or the decisions they’re making, then work to elect new leaders. Advocate for change by participating in meetings, serving on committees, and pushing school leaders to make different decisions about our priorities and objectives. However, continuing to deny the schools the funding they need is not going to fix anything. It only serves to handicap the School Committee’s ability to meet the needs of the schools for FY23 and to address our district’s ongoing needs in the future.
A yes vote on June 21 is a step towards change; it’s a vote to equip our schools, and the leaders we elect, with the funding they need to give us the performance we expect. – Kate Schmeckpeper, Chestnut Street; Seth Gummere, Jersey Street and Kate Whorf, Schooner Ridge