QUOTES & STORIES
THE COMMUNITY IS AT AN IMPORTANT CROSSROADS...
Reading has excellent schools. That quality is being threatened by lack of funds. The Reading Teachers Association urges the people of Reading to vote YES for Reading’s schools on April 3.
Our funding problems are not unique. State funding for education has not kept up with the cost of providing services. But, unlike many other communities, our town does not have enough industry to make up for the shortfall. The result? The school budget has been cut deeply. For example, the high school has lost 26 sections in required classes, class sizes are growing at all levels and students have less access to teachers as our teacher-to-student ratio increases well beyond the state average.
Reading now spends far below the state average and lower than all surrounding and comparable districts on education. In 2016, the most recent year for which we have data, Reading spent $13,285 per student, while the statewide average was $15,544.
Some have argued that the Reading schools need to make do with the budget that the town provides. The schools have been doing just that for the last five years and each year has meant cuts have been made. There simply isn’t any more room for budget cuts without doing serious damage to our public schools. Reading needs to invest in its schools, not dismantle them.
More cuts will be made at all levels if the voters do not approve the Proposition 2 ½ override. These cuts would include removing the Middle School model at Parker and Coolidge, resulting in less social and emotional support, a 50 percent reduction in literacy instruction in 6th grade and no foreign language programs.
The financial instability caused by the budget cuts has resulted in teachers leaving Reading at an unprecedented rate due to working conditions and better opportunity elsewhere. It is becoming more and more difficult to attract and retain quality teachers.
The community is at an important crossroads. The voters will decide our future direction on April 3rd . The Reading Teachers Association is asking voters to support the override to ensure a bright future for Reading’s students.
President, Reading Teachers Association
211 Summer Avenue