Amy Sundari Finlay: Please Vote No on Amherst Question 5!

VOTE NO ON QUESTION 5

Please read this important post! We still need to reach more local voters if we’re going to save Amherst’s K-6 schools, and we need your help to do so.

The school administration has pushed this Grade Reconfiguration plan through despite widespread opposition, so here we are with an upcoming ballot question, that is NOT about popular support for the plan, but is simply a question about funding an educational building. It’s IMPORTANT TO REALIZE, that most people seeing this question on the ballot will simply think “Fund a school building for our kids? Of course!” and vote yes on it. They will have NO IDEA that they are actually voting to increase their taxes **only to undermine the quality of education we have for our children here in Amherst**. This is why it is so important to tell others. People deserve to know what they are voting for!…

The school administration is asking Amherst voters to invest in an extremely expensive, and hugely unpopular, large elementary school that has been–on this year’s ballot, anyway–married to a Grade Reconfiguration Plan. This Grade Reconfiguration entails sending all of the youngest kids in Amherst (Pre-K through First Graders) en mass to the Crocker Farm site, and separating their older siblings (Grades 2-6), to be bused off to this huge school building across town. This plan splits families, coops up young kids on long bus rides, and subjects all kids to the detrimental Large School experience. Voting No is a vote in support of other plans: one of several more popular building-update solutions that would allow us to keep our kid-friendly, small, neighborhood-based K-6 schools!

The truth is, Amherst citizens were never offered an actual vote on Grade Reconfiguration itself, and won’t be. The closest thing we got –after pushing for it– was a survey conducted last Fall, which showed that only 4% of teachers and 6% of parents preferred a grade reconfiguration plan! 96% of teachers, and 94% of parents preferred a K-6 solution! Parents and teachers, overwhelmingly, did not want Grade Reconfiguration to be a part of a new building solution, and yet now we are being asked, as a town, to fund this!

If this vote passes, and funding is approved by largely well meaning but uninformed voters, we will have one last chance to stop it when it comes before a Town Meeting vote. That, too, would require us to continue to educate each other, so that town citizens can let town meeting members know where they stand, and hopefully have a say in the future of education for our kids. We all want building solutions for all of our kids, but the Grade Reconfiguration plan version is more popular with administrators than with parents, teachers, and citizens who learn about it. Let’s make sure all citizens learn about it, because one way or another, that is a necessary step in stopping it!

FAQ:
Will a No vote on funding it make us lose state funding for another solution? No! This is simply not true! Other schools in Massachusetts who have voted their plan down, got back into the system within 2-3 years, with the full funding process completed in 3-5 years total. Even faster, is a renovation solution, which could qualify as an “Accelerated Repair Project” with the state. With strong administrative backing, such a solution could move so quickly that it could even beat the current project timeline.
Get the Facts: www.SASSamherst.org

Already Voted yes on 5? We’ve talked to people who just didn’t know about this issue, and later went, “Oops!” It’s okay. Here are three ways to help influence *other* voters: 1) Send this to friends (tag them, email them, talk to them), 2) Host a Lawn sign (email AmherstSASS@gmail.com to have one delivered at lightening speed), 3) Hold signs on Election Day! Your presence can influence dozens of other voters!

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