Letter: Amherst Schools Must Be Top Priority


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by Mickey Rathbun and Chris Benfy

The following letter appeared previously in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

We were heartbroken to hear Talib Sadiq, Principal of Amherst Regional High School and Interim Principal of Amherst Regional Middle School, describe the woeful physical state of the middle school building at the March 6 School Committee meeting. He reported that the building’s roof leaked so badly during a heavy rainstorm in September that ceiling tiles fell in eight classrooms, requiring class reassignments, and several inches of water collected in the auditorium. After enumerating other serious problems stemming from an insufficient school budget, he expressed his frustration with the townspeople of Amherst who “once again have chosen not to make the public schools in Amherst a priority.” Instead, as he pointed out, the townspeople have decided to prioritize the expansion of the Jones Library. The town’s insistence that the Jones Library expansion proceed as originally planned, regardless of its impact on the school budget and other town necessities, is insupportable. It’s not too late for the people of Amherst to face the truth: a fancy new library isn’t going to save Amherst if its schools are falling apart.

Mickey Rathbun and Chris Benfey

Mickey Rathbun and Chris Benfey are residents of Amherst

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2 thoughts on “Letter: Amherst Schools Must Be Top Priority

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I love libraries but spending all those millions when a face lift could do the job—especially in a town that features two superb libraries at a major research university and a top tier liberal arts college—seems like a misguided priority. Schools should ALWAYS come first.

  2. I am still confused about why Amherst doesn’t maintain its buildings. At the very least we should repair roofs. To allow the library and school roofs to leak for 10 years or even one year is unimaginable to me, yet it happens. Understandably we talk about equity as a complex issue , but healthy public schools serve everyone.

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