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Jessica Sidman and Hallie Hughes: We support the elementary school plan

  • STAFF FILE PHOTO


Friday, March 01, 2019
We support the elementary school plan

One of the most important institutions in any democracy is a strong public school system offering free, high-quality education for all. We all need to support this, not only for our own children, but also for the future of the Commonwealth and our nation. Kids today will need to make complicated decisions in caring for our planet and the lives it supports when they are adults. Quality education is a great investment. Period.

Coming to agreement on elementary building projects created great rifts in our town two years ago. We need to show our kids (and the MSBA) that we can come together now, with grace and pragmatism, to agree on a way forward. We are neighbors in a small town, and we need to swallow the sunk costs of the past. We can’t change what happened two years ago. The lessons of compromise and respect will provide a stark contrast to current national politics.

As people on “opposite” sides of the issue two years ago, we think that Superintendent Michael Morris has laid out a good plan to go back into the MSBA process that shows that he has listened to past criticisms and taken them to heart. There were significant concerns about grade reconfiguration and school size before, and this time around the ideas being floated honor those concerns while facing the reality of the urgent need for all elementary kids to be in high quality buildings soon.

Budget constraints in town are real. The need for new elementary school buildings is urgent. The listening sessions will provide multiple opportunities to engage early in the process. We can model a brand of civic engagement that values listening, debate without accusation, and compromise. So, let’s give our neighbors grace and show the MSBA that the town can get behind a pragmatic building project.

Jessica Sidman
and Hallie Hughes

Amherst