Letter: Why I Voted No in 2016 and Why I am Voting Yes for the Override on APRIL 3

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During 2016, I voted against the $7.5 million override proposal because I thought the override was going to increase my taxes too much and I was unconvinced such a large override was truly needed.

During the next override vote on April 3, 2018, I plan to vote in favor of the override with a YES vote. Here is why I have changed my mind.

The new $4.1 million is a better number for me compared to the 2016 amount of $7.5 million. 

Like many folks, I have reservations in regard to the prudence of giving more of our money to the town in light of a degree of what I consider to have been financial mismanagement in prior years. However, most of the current town officials were not the town officials during the time of the historical financial mismanagement. Also and more importantly, I have decided to give to my children, who attend Reading schools, the benefit of my doubt.

The tipping point for me was listening to our teachers. They are the boots on the ground and I trust them. They are overworked, underpaid and march on every day because they care about our children. Our teachers are shouting from the rooftop that the money is needed. I trust our teachers and choose to believe them when they tell us the money is needed. 

If I am wrong and the money is not needed, or if the money is not used judiciously, then I am willing to take a chance on being wrong for the benefit of our children. I do not need to be right. But I do need to not take risky chances and not provide our children with what they MAY need for a proper education. 

There are no “redos” with raising children. We need to do our best to get it right the first time. And that is why I am willing to spend approximately $500 more a year in real estate taxes. If I am wrong and the town mismanages the money, I can afford the $500 per year for the remaining years I plan to reside in Reading. I can then live with a clean conscious knowing I tried to do what is best for our children. Conversely, if I were to vote against the override and the schools do not get the money they truly need, our children will be the ones that suffer – not the Superintendent of Schools, not the School Committee, not the Board of Selectmen and other town officials – but our children.

If you too have doubts about providing the town with more of your money due to concerns about how the town will use that money, I challenge you to give the benefit of your doubt to our children and our teachers. Our kids spend a brief number of years in Reading schools and if we get this wrong this time, there will not be enough time in this generation for our children to recover. There will be no redos for our generation of children.

This is one of those times in our lives where we have little to lose (approximately $500 per year) and potentially everything to gain (quality education for our children). Without a quality education, our children will be less competitive for quality colleges, our property values will decrease, and ultimately Reading will change forever with the resultant departure of residents that will be able to afford to live elsewhere where education is done right.

I urge you to vote in favor of the override with a YES vote on April 3, 2018.

Michael Monahan
Bancroft Avenue
Reading, Massachusetts

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