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Peter Demling: Time to move forward with Jones, other projects

  • Jones Library JERREY ROBERTS


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Speaking for myself, and not the School Committee, I fully support the Jones Library project.

This project reflects our community values, and like all four major capital projects, it is long overdue. We also have other urgent capital needs like the high school track and fields that will be delayed indefinitely unless we first take care of these major items.

And we have the capacity to fund these four projects while sustaining level school services: that’s the key. We need to make sure that we help our kids recover educationally and emotionally from an unprecedented crisis. Students are going to need more from our schools, not less.

We can achieve this by committing now to maintaining level school services for at least the next several years. We’ve already had millions in painful cuts to our schools in recent years. We can’t just keep cutting and cutting and expect to meet the needs of our students in the way our community expects and values.

New federal school money will help to an extent, but we don’t yet know how much this will be or how long it will last. It will also come with restrictions that prevent it from being used for general budget support.

This is why we need a firm commitment now to level school services, to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by how we fund these projects. I’ve looked at the numbers, and I’m confident that our town can make this commitment.

It’s been long enough. We finally have the resources and a reasonable plan in front of us. And we can do it while fully supporting our public schools. It’s time to get these four projects done.

Peter Demling

Amherst

Peter Demling is a member of the Amherst School Committee, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee and a resident of District 5.