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Out-of-district school
services questioned

To the Bulletin:

I am somewhat confused after reading Nick Grabbe’s piece last week on how the “School Committees face budget gaps.”

As an educator at Holyoke Community College, my focus is on student learning and retention. I am, perhaps shamefully, less-versed in policy and budgetary matters.

As such, my question, asked with all due respect, may strike many as ignorant: Why do we spend so much money for out-of-district placements?

The article cites $500,000 as being spent between the two school budgets for these placements. It seems our money might be better spent if we invest it in the sustainable development of comprehensive programs and services for people with special educational needs.

This would allow Amherst students the ability to go to school in their own community. I do hope someone is able to answer this question for me, for I am earnestly confused about it.

Elisabeth Cantor, LICSW


Olver article praised

To the Bulletin:

Kudos to reporter Ben Storrow for a warm and accurate evaluation of all that John Olver has done for us these many years.

I came to the University of Massachusetts the same year that John did, and have followed his political career since 1969. I am also friends with his remarkable wife, Rose, who deserves just as much praise as he does. I wish them both a well-deserved retirement — together.

Nina M. Scott


Conclusions on
race are wrong

To the Bulletin:

I writing in response to “Racism is real; race is fiction” by columnist Richard Bogartz. As he starts out, Querube Suarez-Werlein was correct. Bogartz has missed the point. Without race there cannot be racism; however to deny the existence of race is to deny truth, honesty and fair competition. Belief in Santa Claus is good ... however this only holds true for toddlers.

John Boothroyd


Mayor’s change
on casinos criticized

To the Bulletin:

I am writing to convey my distaste for Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse’s new stance on the issue of casinos.

As a candidate he took a strong stance against having a local casino, and that was one of the main reasons why so many voters backed him. It was only this fall that he composed a piece about his stance against having a local casino. It is disheartening to see how quickly a publicly elected official can forget where he or she stands on an issue.

Unlike Mayor Morse, I believe there are absolutely no benefits to having a casino in our backyard. If it is built, the area’s crime rate will skyrocket. This has been seen around the nation in other places that have recently had casinos built. We would also experience a phenomenal amount of traffic congestion. The roads around here weren’t designed to have thousands of additional cars and trucks using them. If you have ever been stuck in the casino traffic in Connecticut, then you know what a nightmare the traffic jams can be.

It is true that some much needed jobs could be created, but are these the type of jobs that help to build a stable and healthy community? The majority of the jobs that would be created would have very low wages and offer no benefits. I agree that more jobs is a good thing, but we need jobs that have the wages and benefits people need in order to sustain themselves.

Until the next election comes around, the best thing to happen now would be if Mayor Morse forgot his new stance and reverted back to his old self.

James Lefebvre


Mayor’s change
on casinos praised

To the Bulletin:

A year is a long time for some political careers; a lot can change from candidate to mayor. While it may be upsetting that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse seems to have contradicted his earlier opposition to casinos, the same views that got him so many votes, I respect him for doing so. An entire year in office, looking over Holyoke’s economic state and how it changed over these past several months, may have given him some new perspectives, unforeseen during his campaign. He is able to make a decision based off this new information, even if it means potentially ending his political career.

While no final decision has yet been made, he deserves to have the basic freedom, as a politician, to see what others propose, instead of blindly denying them based on past ideals. With the possibility of a casino showing up near Holyoke anyway, simply reassessing his options cannot hurt.

Daniel Staiculescu


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