QUOTES & STORIES
2018 Override Quotes & Stories
A GREAT DEAL IS AT STAKE...
Scott & Christy Magoon
Reading is at a crossroads and to remain competitive and vital we must vote YES on April 3. The choice before us is clear: Do we support and protect our most vulnerable citizens by offering them key educational and safety standards—or do we leave them behind, underfunded, and at risk? A great deal is at stake. This vote is our chance to retain and attract the best educators for our kids and to stand behind Reading’s First Responders and give them the support they—and we—deserve. Our elders too would greatly benefit from a YES vote. Going forward, if we want Reading to be locally competitive, if we want our homes to retain and appreciate in value, then we must vote YES on April 3.
YES, BUT...? I'LL TAKE THAT!...
If the above title is your position on the override, I’ll take it! If you’re still a NO, take a second to consider being a YES, BUT! In other words, vote YES, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have concerns about how the money will be spent. It means you are willing to give the Town a chance to show you they can spend it wisely and-- more importantly-- you recognize that the money is needed to continue providing level services.
WHAT WILL WE CHOOSE TO VALUE?...
On April 3rd at the ballot box, each of us will individually make a decision that impacts us personally. The choice we make will significantly change the direction of our community. This is a tremendously difficult decision similar to 15 & 16 years ago, when we last wrangled with an override. At that time, like today, we were divided and emotions ran strong.
AS A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, I'M VOTING YES TO KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE...
I’m writing in support of the override as a clinical social worker who has spent her career working with children and families. I cannot express the importance of teachers in the early identification of mental health issues enough. Kids spend most of their time at school and in classrooms. Not everyone has equal access to quality healthcare in order to obtain mental health services for a plethora of reasons. All children, however, go to school. Teachers are often the first people to identify at-risk youth and help them get the services they need.
INVEST IN OUR CHILDREN AND IT WILL PAY BIG DIVIDENDS...
Mike & Sharon Cassettari
My wife and I moved to Reading four years ago from Lexington where we raised our two children and lived for over 25 years. We were drawn to Reading for its convenient location, nice neighborhoods and beautiful conservation areas for walking and hiking. But what about its school system?
THE TOWN NEEDS A BOOSTER SHOT...
“The Town needs money!” It’s the last phrase you want to hear, and the topic you would least like to discuss. Unfortunately it is true, and the discussions have led to a conclusion…Override! Full panic sets in, you can FEEL your wallet getting lighter, 15 reasonably good excuses pop in your head and your pulse quickens. I know how you feel, but I don’t think it’s all that bad.
READING IS AT A CROSSROADS...
I’m writing to urge you to vote YES on April 3rd override for our town and schools. I’m talking to you as parent of school ages kids, a spouse of a Reading teacher and as a Spanish teacher for the last 19 years.
My children have thrived and enjoyed their years so far in Reading. My oldest is now poised to enter 7th grade. These past few months have been difficult imagining what his educational experience will be like if the schools have to make cuts. His class is already one of the largest at Coolidge. He is looking forward to starting language next year and experiencing a school day that allows for academic thought and cultural/ artistic subjects. Without this override passing, that won’t be possible.
THIS OVERRIDE IS ESSENTIAL TO THE MAINTENANCE OF OUR TOWN...
As one of your Selectmen, I feel it is important to share my opinion on the upcoming override ballot question. I offer it with all due respect to the many diverse viewpoints in our town. As an elected official I take very seriously my obligation to represent the interests of not only all voters, but of each and every citizen of our town.
A YES VOTE BENEFITS ALL OF US...
READING IS AMAZING—I LOVE THIS PLACE. I LOVE the sense of community and how the residents REALLY care about their town—passionately! I love the volunteers who spend hours to help the town by serving on different boards or the School Committee, the Finance Committee or as Members of the Select Board—and of course, those serving on the Yes for Reading Committee. I love how each respect and try to help all residents of Reading.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT OUR TOWN PASS THIS OVERRIDE...
The Reading School Committee
At our meeting on March 5, 2018, the School Committee voted unanimously to endorse the $4.15 million proposition 2 ½ override ballot question Reading voters will see on April 3rd. It is essential that our town pass this override if we want to continue to offer the same quality of education that has traditionally defined our public schools.
A YES VOTE IS SORELY NEEDED ON APRIL 3RD...
I believe there are many reasons to support the override, involving public safety, town government, and the schools. In addition to preventing draconian cuts to our schools, the override will allow for five police officers and four firefighters/paramedics to be hired, as well as maintaining access to key town departments, such as elder services, the DPW, and the library. The cost of these benefits to the average-assessed home will be $488 per year or $9.38/week.
WE CAN BE A MODEL TOWN – IF WE CHOOSE TO BE...
Much has already been written on these pages about the Proposition 2 ½ override vote that will be taking place on April 3, 2018. So I would like to use this space to dispel, at least anecdotally, what is an unfortunate stereotype. And that is that Reading’s seniors are the biggest enemies of a successful override. I have spent many hours over the past several weekends knocking on the doors of strangers to help get out the word about the importance of this vote to the future of our town. And I cannot tell you how much support I have found amongst our seniors who truly understand that this is about something bigger than themselves and beyond their pure self interests.
YES FOR (AN OVERRIDE IN) READING...
A wise man once said, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been…
Let’s take a look at what has put us in the position we are today – not enough tax revenue to keep up with the rising cost of running a community – we are hamstrung by an antiquated state law that limits property taxes called Proposition 2 ½.
THE PASSAGE OF THIS OVERRIDE IS NOT ONLY NECESSARY FOR OUR GREAT TOWN, BUT A SMART ECONOMIC INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURES...
My wife and I moved to Reading with our young daughter 13 years ago and added another daughter along the way. I can honestly say that I love this town and there is no place in Massachusetts that I’d rather live. Although I am a fiscal conservative, I will be voting “Yes” on April 3rd because I believe our town, like in the early 2000s, is in desperate need of an override to support our police department, fire department and schools.
YES FOR READING TO LEAP US FORWARD...
Meredith & Ben Yoder
The earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days so thoughtful folks adopted a calendar allowing for periodic“correction” by adding an extra day every 4 years.
Similarly, the upcoming Prop 2½ override is an infrequent measure needed to bring our local budget into sync. The time for this measure arrives when town revenues and projected costs skew so far out of sync that services can no longer meet needs.
CONSERVE SUPERB MIDDLE SCHOOLS THAT DELIVER A GREAT EDUCATION TO STUDENTS...
I would like to urge people to vote for the override on April 3.
I’ve been a middle school teacher in Reading for the past 15 years. While I don’t live in Reading, I have to admit that there were times, particularly when my own children were in middle school, that I wished that I did. Both middle schools are nurturing and caring places -and I felt, and still feel, that the kids reciprocated this nurturing and caring. I never felt the sense of chaos, anger and frustration that I felt at other schools.
WHEN WE INVEST IN EACH OTHER'S FUTURE, WE SIMULTANEOUSLY INVEST IN OUR OWN...
On April 3, we will decide whether or not to approve a tax override. We’ve learned that for several years costs have been driven higher than the annual 2.5% (plus new growth) tax increases allowed by Massachusetts state law.
We have also learned that Reading has not passed a tax override for nearly 15 years and thus stands nearly alone amongst other towns in the region with a 90% or more residential tax base. For years our school and town administrators balanced budgets by increasing efficiency, leaving open positions empty, and raising fees. Now we must make deeply painful cuts. If this override does not pass, in the next year alone we will eliminate foreign language from our middle schools, increase elementary class sizes significantly, and keep public safety staffing unacceptably thin.
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.
GOOD VALUE, OR CHEAP?...
I’ve always thought of Reading as being a “good value” town to live in. What I mean by that is, we get more for the taxes we pay than we might get elsewhere. Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more, if it gets you significantly more value, and I feel that this is how Reading has been in the past.
THE FACT THAT IT HAS BEEN 15 YEARS SINCE READING'S LAST OVERRIDE SUGGESTS THAT WE ARE PAST DUE FOR AN ADJUSTMENT...
John & Susanne Sullivan
We see that the town’s voters will be asked on April 3 to vote on a proposed override to Proposition 2-1/2, and we want to encourage our friends and neighbors to consider voting “yes.” The fact that it has been 15 years since Reading’s last override suggests that we are past due for an adjustment. Our four children got a quality education
in Reading schools, and it feels like the right thing to support the same opportunity for those who came after
I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THE TOWN CONTINUE TO GROW AND EVOLVE IN YEARS TO COME...
Twenty years ago my wife Kim and I had a big decision to make. We had been renting in Belmont for a few years and began looking for a home to start our family. Since neither one of us is from Massachusetts, we looked at several towns in the Greater Boston area, ultimately choosing to call Reading home. Starting our young family, we were confident that we landed in a town with people that valued community, friendship, public safety, and academics.
BUDGET CUTS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE HURT RMHS IN SO MANY WAYS...
Michele Weber Chiappini
Even before the proposed new cuts, budget cuts in the last few years have hurt RMHS in so many ways not the least are:
Cuts affecting 8 faculty, including an amazing 10-year art teacher, loved by students, who just could not work part time.
Computer equipment was purchased summer 2017 to support STEM classes this year. Cuts to technology support staff caused the equipment to sit, unused, waiting for software installations. The equipment has just become available second semester. The first semester students lost out entirely.
WHAT THE CITIZENS OF READING NEED RIGHT NOW IS LEADERSHIP...
There is a perception in this Town that our Board of Selectmen is divided. That there are certain members of the Board that understand that an Override is the ONLY structural answer to the financial predicament that we find ourselves in. And these Selectmen are willing to not only vote to put an Override on the ballot but also to get out in the community and proactively educate voters and advocate for its passage.
MY HEART BREAKS WHEN I ANTICIPATE THE ASSAULT ON OUR SCHOOLS IF THE APRIL OVERRIDE DOES NOT PASS...
Jeffrey R. Ryan, Ph.D.
I have been teaching history at Reading Memorial High School for over 20 years, and I love my job, my students, and my colleagues. I am proud of the high caliber of education that we have been offering to the young people of Reading for a very long time. My heart breaks when I anticipate the assault on our schools if the April override does not pass. The likely slashing of the budget that the loss of revenue will require will precipitate a catastrophic reduction in the number of teachers in all of our schools. While my seniority will probably shield me from being fired, the outlook for those of us who survive the coming purge is dismal, discouraging, and thoroughly bleak.
BUDGET IMPACTS FOR OUR YOUNG KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS...
A Reading Kindergarten Teacher
Students are suffering and not getting what they need due to budget cuts or a lack of funding for programs, materials, etc. Teachers in this district are and have been overcompensating in every way for years to maintain service levels for current students. Reading is losing great teachers because we do not support our teachers the way we should.
EVERY CUT DIMINISHES WHAT OUR STUDENTS CAN ACCOMPLISH..
Over the last several years, the Reading Public Schools have had to cut the budget each year. This has meant that the sixth grade students have had less to work with year after year. At first it was less materials like classroom supplies and curriculum related resources such as books, magazines and online articles.
2016 Override Quotes & Stories
WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER...
We’re all in this together. Some who don’t have children in our schools or don’t plan to sell their homes might be tempted to think of the override as “not relevant to me.” But in fact the plight of our neighbors is relevant to all of us.
THIS OVERRIDE HAS TO PASS...
Thirty teachers and ten town officials will likely be cut if the override doesn’t pass. In this complicated world that we live in (that our children are growing up in), I want as many caring, smart adults willing to dedicate their lives to educating and protecting others to be available to my children.
GO OUT AND MAKE CHANGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY...
As a student of Reading’s Public School System, I feel a desire to reflect on all that was given to me there. At Joshua Eaton and Parker Middle School, I had teachers that were gentle and caring. With their support my love of reading grew and I had become invested in learning. I felt that my teachers supported me fully. Yet neither of these schools compare to all that was given to me at Reading Memorial High School.
EMPOWER SCHOOLS TO DO MORE WITH MORE...
I have lived in Reading for 47 years. For many of them I was a single parent raising two sons. Upon graduation from the Reading school system, one went to Bentley, the other to Bryant. Today one sits on the Board of a financial services company in Boston, the other is a partner in a startup company in NY. All thanks to the education, confidence, and leadership imparted to them by their teachers, coaches, and faculty in our Reading school system.
FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COMMUNITY, OUR SENIORS, AND OUR CHILDREN...
Linda Snow Dockser
It is time for an override - 2 1/2 % is not enough to cover costs and inflation over time, let alone increased health care, safety, special education, and intergenerational socio-emotional needs and costs. What our teachers, staff, and administration are doing is heroic and getting harder.
WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE, WE LOST ONCE ALREADY...
Elaine L. Webb
The decision that YOU make on October 18th will significantly impact you, your neighbors, and all 4200 school children in Reading. If you are not sure what is going on in our community on October 18th and why it is essential for you to participate then you should keep reading. If you own property in Reading, if you have children in our public schools, if you like the municipal services you have then you should keep reading. On October 18th, you are being asked to execute our long held privilege and duty to vote.
WE WILL VOTE, RESOUNDINGLY, "YES"...
Dorian Hart and Kate Jenkins
We have been Reading residents for 12 years, and we have two children in the school system (one at Killam Elementary, and one just about to start at Parker Middle as a 6th grader). We have enjoyed living here immensely, and think highly of the way the town has been administered.
THE READING TEACHERS ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS THE OVERRIDE...
Reading Public Schools are committed to meeting the needs of all students. That sounds simple, but in reality is a huge, complex undertaking. We are fortunate that in Reading we have passionate and creative educators dedicated to creating opportunities for students no matter where they are academically, emotionally or socially.
DON'T TOUCH THE MARSHMALLOW!...
Don’t touch the marshmallow!
That is the slogan of many schools, and it refers to an oft-repeated study of young children where they are placed individually alone in a room with a single marshmallow on a plate and told that if they don’t take the marshmallow on the plate, someone will come into the room in ten minutes and give them two marshmallows.
OUR "FOREVER" HOME...
Justin and Samantha Carreiro
In 2014 we were looking for our “forever” home. We were drawn to Reading by the convenient location and the tree lined streets. We bought a home in Reading because of its reputation as a safe, well maintained town and its solid school system. Having three young children- these were the key criteria in our home search. In addition, we truly feel that all of the events, resources and economic diversity that the town offers will benefit our children well over the years.
FORMER FINANCE COMMITTEE & TOWN MEETING MEMBER...
Reading is a town where my wife Lori and I feel fortunate to have raised our kids for the past for the past 24 years. Its top-notch school system, fun community events, and its open spaces for us all to enjoy and play are all here because the town invests frugally and strategically to provide us all with essential services.
SUPPORTED BY OUR COMMUNITY...
Amy and Jack Cole
Our family chose to move to Reading 9 years ago when our oldest daughter was about to enter first grade. We chose Reading for its proximity to Boston and its access to the commuter rail and highways. We also valued the reputation of its schools. What surprised us most once we settled in was the supportive, caring community we realized we had joined.
48 YEAR RESIDENT...
William J. Hecht Sr.
Why I urge you fellow Reading citizens to vote yes for an override -
I am supporting the impending override for the following reasons:
1. It is the right thing to do for the future of Reading.