Valerie Reiss: Forget the grown-ups

 Ramiro Davaro-Comas, the artist who designed the mural project on the front of Leeds Elementary School, talks with students about their part in painting it.

Ramiro Davaro-Comas, the artist who designed the mural project on the front of Leeds Elementary School, talks with students about their part in painting it. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 06-19-2024 5:15 PM

It appears that the mayor and much of the City Council remain bound to the incorrect notion that we don’t have enough money to properly fund the schools — and that advocating for level funding is somehow distasteful or disrespectful. Even though councilors and constituents who have tirelessly combed through the budget have found that money. It’s now even clear to me, a non-math person: The $2 million needed to fill the gap is there. But the mayor and most councilors won’t agree to use it.

Welp, meanwhile, my kid at Leeds is finishing fourth grade today without knowing who his teacher will be. He’s doing it in a school system that thinks class sizes of “under 30” are acceptable, when class sizes over 25 are well outside the norm in the state; that paraeducators are somehow a luxury, when in fact they keep the wheels on the bus; and that values fiscal statistics over social responsibility.

Us frustrated parents and councilors are not the enemy. We want to see our kids thrive for their sake, but also our city’s sake. We want to stop the schools from further hemorrhaging students to private and charter schools. We want them to have safe, vibrant classrooms in which educators are supported. Yet those with the power to make that happen seem to be working harder on deflecting concerns rather than addressing them. Please, please fund our schools. Just forget about us pestering grown-ups if that helps, and think of the kids.

Valerie Reiss

Leeds

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Music in the sky: Summit House Sunset Concert Series returns to its 173-year-old home
Easthampton’s 11 Ferry St. project promises affordable five-story, 96-unit complex
Knitters’ paradise: Webs, ‘America’s Yarn Store’ and a mainstay for Valley crafters for generations, turns 50
Ashfield Lake House reopening under new ownership, management
Herrell’s Ice Cream to open pop-up shop in North Amherst this summer
Yankee Candle consolidation prompts loss of 100 jobs