NEAT Bulletin: “Phenomenal” outpouring from community headed off school closing

We are reprinting the April 4 bulletin from Northampton Education Action Team with permission. It gives details about the welcome events of last week and what concerned citizens can do going forward…


The School Committee’s Budget and Property Sub-Committee met tonight
(Thurs.) and voted to take off the table the decision to close a
school next year. The Superintendent described the outpouring from the
community as “phenomenal” and made clear that this decision was
largely influenced by all of our hard work. Congratulations to us all!

So with this victory under our belt, we know the power in our numbers
and we can now use and grow it for the work that lies ahead. We will
be in touch in the next day or so about action steps with our state
legislators — we’ve got a revenue raising bill to fight for (closing
corporate tax loopholes)! And it will need our help. So stay tuned.

But first, a recap of the Budget and Property Committee meeting: The
Superintendent presented two budget cutting scenarios to the committee
members. The crux of the debate is whether to cut transportation or
elementary school teachers. A detailed analysis was presented around
elementary school enrollment and class sizes that would result from
each scenario. Kathy Foote Newman raised the issue of reviewing middle
and high school enrollment as well, and this request was echoed by the
other committee members. Isabelina said she would bring this
information to the full committee meeting next Thurs. The
superintendent proposed the establishment of a large committee to
study solutions to the budget crisis during the next year. NEAT
expects to be very active with that study. Finally, everyone stressed
that the budget gap was also closed by using up the reserve funds.
There is no cushion for this year; no savings.

By and large, the committee and the superintendent clearly heard the
community and responded in a positive way. That is a major first step!

In other news:

NEAT members are meeting with State Senator Stan Rosenberg tomorrow.
We need Senator Rosenberg to push the Senate leadership on the
proposed bill to close corporate tax loopholes. We’ll keep you posted
on his intentions and perspective.

The committee to explore the option of an override ballot campaign
will meet at 7 pm, this Sunday night, April 6th at 102 Bancroft Road
at Round Hill Road. Contact Julie Starr for more info. 413-584-8785.
An organizational NEAT meeting will be held at 7:15 at 22 Columbus
Avenue (Pam and Joel’s home, 586-7113). The purpose of this meeting is
to establish the internal structure of NEAT for the long term.

The full School Committee meets next Thursday, April 10th at 7:15 pm
at JFK. There is opportunity for public comment. Please come if you

Check out the Calendar [link] on the NEAT website for these meetings and
other events.

Congratulations once again for your great work! We’ll keep you posted
on plans to celebrate and build in some old-fashioned fun as we push
forward in securing a quality education for all of Northampton’s


See also:

Gazette: “Superintendent: Hold off on school closing”
“I think the superintendent was responding to the community’s outcry
that they want to be involved in the process,” [Subcommittee Chairwoman
Katherine] Foote Newman said.

The superintendent has recommended
forming a committee charged with taking a close look at the advantages
and disadvantages of closing one of the schools and consolidating
students and staff in the remaining three…

“Back to School for Planners”; “Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School”; “The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools”

Closing Bridge Street School Contradicts Smart Growth Goals

April 12: Garden Clean Up/Community Rally for Bridge Street School