Vote "Yes" on the override

Yes on Question 1 for Brewster

I urge all Brewster voters to vote Yes on Question 1 to support the override. The results of this question will shape the nature and quality of our town services, and couldn't be more critical to maintaining excellence in our schools. Our future is on the line.

The results of this question will shape the nature and quality of our town services, and couldn't be more critical to maintaining excellence in our schools.

After the cuts our elementary schools endured last year, the quality of education suffered. The loss of a reading specialist will have a long-term impact on students who need extra support to keep up with their peers. This impact will affect the children as individuals and the school as a whole in its test scores. Also, the reduction in library and technology instruction for all students will similarly impact students' skills into the future. We need to restore these important positions.

If the override passes we will be able to partially restore these positions as well as cover a jump in special education expenses. If the override fails, the special education expenses will still have to be covered, so not only will we be unable to restore lost positions from last year, we will have to cut an additional $340,000 from the school budget. And this will grow to nearly $450,000 if the other three towns pass the regional override (Wellfleet already has), forcing the town to fund that increase from the existing budgets.

Such cuts will devastate our schools. There are no "extras" in the school budget after years of reductions. We saw that last year when the cuts hit critical areas. To close this gap, classroom teachers will have to be let go leading to a major jump is class sizes. This will fundamentally undermine the approach of our schools that has been so successful.

An override failure will have a similar impact on the town budget. However the cuts are allocated, they will impact programs that citizens rely on.

Beyond the immediate impact, an override failure would hurt the town even more over time. It would erode our services and diminish our quality of life. It would make Brewster less attractive to visitors and lead to a decline in revenue for our businesses. These effects, and the impact on our schools would reduce the flow of families with young children into Brewster thus leading to a decline in property values. Such risks should make any voter wonder, given the precarious situation of many town services, whether we can afford not to pass the override.

So Question 1 presents a choice about the future of the town. Eventually, better planning may help avoid this kind of budget crisis. But this year, the override is necessary and unavoidable if we want to preserve the Brewster we know and love. Please vote yes on Question 1.

John Dickson
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