Westfield Newsroom

Letter: Don’t cut school staff

To the Editor,

I read Amy’s news article and found out we are losing 33 positions and $4M in cuts for public schools. As the father of a daughter in Kindergarten at Paper Mill, and one whose child requires additional care with learning, I am vehemently opposed to this revised budget. Cutting that much from our schools is just plain unacceptable. I realize this is a hard time for everyone what with the pandemic, the economy in shambles and the civil unrest seen throughout the country, but doing this now is pouring salt on an open wound.

Of the positions being cut, HVAC\Plumbing positions are of extreme importance right now – tell me how you are going to keep our kids in a safe and clean environment when there is no one to do the work. I do not want to send my child back to an underfunded school system and one that has no ability to protect them, to the best of their ability, from potentially contracting Covid-19. We are already being taxed by remote learning and now we have to worry about the quality and safety of our schools when our children return.

Additionally, with less staff, we will have larger classes and being in larger classes puts undue burden on the teachers and gives children less individualized learning. Again, as someone who has a child that requires more direct learning, this is especially egregious.

You need to dig deeper here; I refuse to believe you have done all you can. In the article referenced, Sullivan says:

“Why do we need to go so far out in front of the ball, when no one is even talking about it. I am an emphatic no. If the City Council tells us we have to cut half of the budget deficit, when does the School Committee get half of the Free Cash. There’s also a Stabilization Fund,” Sullivan said, adding, “I don’t know how the city budget is being constructed. I think there are some grants coming our way. We’re doing a disservice.”

If there is grant money or something happening with a Stabilization Fund, it deserves to be looked at. Your view here seems hopeless: “Before we ask for what’s next, he’s got to consider that there will be many more cuts coming down the pike. We have no hope at the moment either from the state or the federal government. This $8 million is what I need now,” the Mayor said. “Strictly, it’s being asked for because we don’t have that money. The state isn’t looking to do their budget until August. They’re already cutting local aid to cities and towns and educational money by 10%. We’re not just protecting this $4 million – I have to ask the School Department and other departments to start looking at the several million we’ll need for the next round,” Humason added.

I sincerely hope there will be no additional cuts – I don’t want this one; we will be crippled with half the budget gone and you expect to cut further still? Why kind of education can you possibly provide under those constraints? Do better – I will not stand by and watch as our education is destroyed – I will not stand by while our children are put at risk for just trying to go to school. It’s absurd.


Joshua Shapiro


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