Friday, June 14, 2002
The 'unity' in community
To the Editor:
This is an appeal to those who have not yet become involved in the controversy that grips our little town, to become educated about the issues, to attend the Special Town Meeting on Monday, June 17, and to consider becoming involved in developing new, creative solutions. I'm speaking particularly to those who remember that one of the reasons you moved here was because of the superior school systems. Regardless of whether you have children yet to attend our schools, or children who have already benefited from the public education provided them, you'll remember that the reputation of the schools contributes to our real estate value, and our future security.
Sadly, in difficult times, be they strenuous financial times or not, the raw human tendency is to hunker down in an insular manner. Moving in that direction is dangerous. It's divisive and creates an intolerance to share diverse opinions. Instead, we must pull together.
At stake currently (from what I understand at this time) is the gentle appropriation of our portion of funds for our regional high school. I say "gentle" because the appropriations may be required through a joint Town Meeting, that will, to my mind, only create unneeded animosity between Concord and ourselves. At stake too is the opportunity to secure our indispensable police and fire service, and to provide a moderate pay raise for town employees.
I propose that a show of support for these items does not preclude the need for us, as a community, to find new and creative ways to ensure that the tax obligations don't become overburdensome for those on a fixed income. I suggest that the time for exploring the development of ideas to address those concerns is now, but for implementation in the near future. Supporting what is needed today does not prevent the need to find new solutions for tomorrow.
Grateful for aid after accident
To the Editor:
My deepest thanks to the Carlisle Police Department, especially Officer Paul Smith who radiated calm as he patiently helped me fill out accident forms after my car met an untimely death at pole #96 on Lowell Road. Then he chauffeured me to Carlisle Auto Body and home.
Also, many thanks to the kind driver from Hickory Lane who stopped and took me to the station with great tact and sympathy.
Having such help made my shocking experience more bearable. Luckily I escaped with only minor bruises, thanks to seat belt and air bags.
Cutting the living flesh
To the Editor:
By the luck of the draw, the oldest and youngest of our three children have had to face middle school in Carlisle following failed overrides. Our daughter Sarah was entering 6th grade in 1990 after the first famous override failure. She was part of a class of 60, which had previously been divided into three sections of 20 each. Her class made the already difficult transition into middle school divided into two hordes of 30 each, and neither the teachers nor the students could handle the ensuing chaos.
My son Nick has a disorder on the autism spectrum which exhibits in school primarily as a reaction to chaos. His need for order and serenity and structure is greater than most of his classmates. He is also part of a population peak, whose entry into 6th grade was handled beautifully by assigning aides to each teacher to help handle the unwieldy class sizes.
I fear for my son's class, and for my son, as they enter 7th grade. Experience tells me that chaos will be unavoidable with 27 kids per class and no aides to ameliorate the situation. And at an age when more adult contact is known to be crucial in heading off drug and alcohol abuse and myriad other ills, they will be having less.
Far more troublesome than the unprecedented $365 bus fee their parents must pay, these kids will face a 7th-grade year gutted of many of the experiences classes before them have profited from. Student council is gone, as are math league and other "extras". And the choral music program, which has grown exponentially in quality and enthusiasm under Angela DiPace and Katherine Pringle, is gone. Hearing their last concerts in Corey auditorium, I couldn't help juxtaposing the images of these young musicians with those of grim-faced townspeople holding up their "No means No" signs.
This isn't about "a wax job on a Rolls Royce;" it's about cutting into the living flesh of the delicate organism of a school. These kids will be hearing that "no" resonating for a long, long time.
League encourages Town Meeting participation
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters is a public service organization dedicated to "Making Democracy Work" by encouraging informed, active participation of citizens in government. Carlisle is undergoing an extended Town Meeting process that affects the Concord-Carlisle High School budget, the town operating budget and could further impact the Carlisle K-8 school budget. A Carlisle Special Town Meeting is scheduled for June 17
The Carlisle Special Town Meeting has four articles and one override question for consideration. Articles may be moved in any order. Article 1 asks voters to amend appropriations made at the Annual Town Meeting in May.
Article 2 asks voters to increase funding for the Carlisle portion of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School budget since Carlisle's May Town Meeting appropriated an amount of funding lower than what the Town of Concord approved.
Articles 3 and 4 ask voters to approve specific transfers of money from the stabilization fund to various departments, boards, commissions and operating expenses of the town. A transfer from the stabilization fund requires a 2/3 vote.
The override question asks the voters to further increase taxes in order to raise an additional $75,000 in order to fund appropriations voted in Articles 1 and 2. If an article requiring an override is passed at Special Town Meeting, the override vote must be ratified by the voters at a special election scheduled for June 26.
The board of the League of Women Voters of Concord and Carlisle (LWVCC) went on record prior to both annual meetings in support of a modest increase in the regional school budget (which maintained level services and added funds for state-mandated special education costs). This budget amount, which required an override in Concord, has already been voted by the Concord Town Meeting and ratified by Concord voters at a special election.
Voters should consider that if $125,000 (Carlisle's shortfall) can be found at the Special Town Meeting such that the override is not needed to fund the regional budget, then a potentially divisive and costly joint Town Meeting, scheduled for June 27, the day after the Carlisle override vote on June 26,
The LWVCC recommends that all voters attend Special Town Meeting on June 17.
Nancy Beeuwkes, president
Cindy Nock, vice-president for Carlisle
Thanks from Carlisle School librarian
To the Editor:
It is with some embarrassment but much gratitude that I write to thank all who have taken the time to call and write both to me and the Mosquito in regards to the recent events involving our school library. It has always been apparent how much the school community cares about their library. During my past three years in Carlisle, my goal has been to make the school library a warm and happy place where kids feel safe and empowered to read, to learn, and to experiment. Teachers, parents and community members are always welcome here. Whatever the outcome of our circumstances, I will always be grateful to all who have gone out of their way to voice support, appreciation, and caring. There are few among us who ever learn just how much their work has affected those around them. Thank you so very much for a humbling yet rewarding experience.
I thought you might like to read about a recent event held in Washington D.C., which confirms what you already appear to know. On June 4, Laura Bush hosted a White House Conference on School Libraries. At the conference, experts and panelists offered compelling stories of the power of school libraries to make a difference on student achievement. The conference was attended by education leaders from across the U.S. and included Dr. David Driscoll, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education. Upon his return Dr. Driscoll stated, "Of all our duties as educators, I cannot think of anything more important than teaching all students how to read well while fostering a love of reading at the same time. Our school and community libraries serve as valuable resources that reinforce that commitment to reading and learning. Communities with public and school libraries send a powerful message to children, parents and the entire community that reading and learning are important and valued."
The conference speeches and comments can be read in their entirety online at http://www.imls.gov/pubs/whitehouse0602/whitehouse.htm. I hope you will find the speeches interesting and informative.
Carlisle School librarian
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito