Friday, October 7, 2016

Letter From City Councilor James Leahy

I have been seeing a lot of PR0-Charter School advertisements on TV lately. The ads claim that local districts get MORE money for their budgets from the Charter Schools. I found that claim to be questionable. So, today I asked our assistant treasurer for the breakdown regarding Charter School income and expenses. This is what she shared: "Last year Holyoke Public Schools received $1,694,132 in for charter school receipts, but we paid out $11,384,647 for Charter School tuition." This got me thinking, with Holyoke having a $90,000,000 school budget, paying Charter School tuition represents roughly 11% of our budget. 

 So, the second largest expense (next to salaries) for Holyoke Public Schools is to financially support NON-PUBLIC schools?! Based on these Holyoke Public School budget numbers, the claims in those TV advertisements are completely untrue. Dr. Zrike, our school administrators, teachers, students School Committee, and parents are working very hard to improve Holyoke Public Schools. 

We owe it to them, and to ourselves as members of this community, to dedicate as much of our financial resources to Holyoke Public Schools as possible. With more Charter Schools popping up, we will be giving away more and more of the much-needed budget money for our schools and teachers. This ultimately will negatively impact our children and our community. 

Therefore, I am voting NO on Question #2 and I encourage you to do the same.

James M. Leahy, City Councilor and parent of a public school child.

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