To the Editor, I am writing in response to the report that the Watertown School Committee has adopted the proposed FY 15 budget for the Watertown Public Schools (WPS). A strong community needs strong schools and for several years now WPS has been in decline. This new budget, however, makes a statement that the WPS leadership and the School Committee are committed to getting back on track towards high-quality schools.
Now it is time for the Town Manager and Town Council to make the same kind of commitment. In the budget that gets presented to the Town Council on April 29, we need to see that they understand the importance of making an investment in our schools -- both in FY 15 by finding the funds needed to get the schools stabilized and on a path to success, and in working together with school and community leaders to set out a sustainable budget strategy for the next 5-10 years. In both the short and long term approaches, it is critically important that funding the schools does not reduce funding for the other essential services we all rely on, but there do exist a number of sources for the additional funding needed.
When our family first moved to Watertown five years ago with very young children, we were ambivalent about whether we would stay in the town because of the mixed reputation of the schools compared to surrounding towns. Now that our kids are at the Cunniff School we have been extremely impressed by the leadership and vision of the principal and teachers to work for a high quality education for every child in that school.
Now they and their colleagues at all of Watertown’s schools need the resources to carry out their plan.
It is essential that we – all of us who call Watertown home – work to encourage our town leaders to invest sufficiently so that our schools are no longer a source of uncertainty for people thinking about coming to our community. Instead, let our schools be one of the main reasons why people are moving into and staying in Watertown to raise their families and contribute to a growing and thriving community. This will make sure our future together stays Watertown Strong.
James Cairns 171 Warren Street Watertown MA 02472 617-393-1503 Pelton.firstname.lastname@example.org