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READING IS AMAZING—I LOVE THIS PLACE. I LOVE the sense of community and how the residents REALLY care about their town—passionately! I love the volunteers who spend hours to help the town by serving on different boards or the School Committee, the Finance Committee or as Members of the Select Board—and of course, those serving on the YesForReading Committee. I love how each respect and try to help all residents of Reading.
However, I now feel that we are at a crossroad—our extremely dedicated public servants and teachers have been stretched thin after cutbacks over the last 5+ years. We need to vote YES on the Override Question on April 3rd to restore and retain what is needed to sustain the community we love.
I believe that we all want excellent Pubic Safety and that we all have a Moral Responsibility to our youth. It is unbelievable that the number of police and firefighters in Reading are the same or less than what we had 40-50 years ago—incredible when you consider the town’s population growth and the commercial development since then—and the necessity to be prepared for all of the crazy things that are happening in our world today, like the “active shooter” epidemic and the opioid crisis. A YES VOTE would restore 4 firefighters and 5 police officers.
I believe that we all have a strong Moral Responsibility to provide the best education possible to prepare Reading youth for a far more complex and challenging world than when we grew up. Teacher cuts increase class sizes and hence reduce the opportunity for teachers to have individual interactions with students who need extra help, or who have an insatiable desire to learn and to question. Teachers need to help develop the independent thinking and the investigative process that the new generation needs in order to become good citizens and to be prepared for today’s competitive, global economy. Teacher cuts, course cuts (like languages) and reduced teacher-student interactions are counter-productive. Reading suffers; our Nation suffers. A YES VOTE will restore and retain teachers.
In one way or another, a YES VOTE benefits all of us. As a senior with balance issues, I hope I never need to call, but I feel more secure knowing that Reading First Responders are ready to help if the need arises. BTW, in the first 11 months of 2017, almost 68% of emergency calls were from those 55 years of age and older!
Finally, an excellent school system will continue to attract new home buyers, thus helping our home values to continue to rise. For most of us, the investment we made in our homes is our key financial investment—we want it to continue to rise.
VOTE YES for our Reading—”ONE READING” that we are all proud of.