Monday, June 9, 2008

Letter from Ed Cafasso

People support overrides for many different reasons.

I heard from one School Committee member about a friend whose kids are grown and out on their own; she struggled to raise them by herself despite a great many personal and financial obstacles, including serious illness. She said she would be voting yes because “the community” helped educate her children and she feels it’s now her duty to support the community in educating others.

I heard a Town Councilor describe “the bargain” he feels the Franklin schools are. He looks at his tax bill; he looks at the services he gets – the low crime rate, the convenient businesses; the clean streets, the award-winning schools – and he realizes that his family is getting an exceptional value for the money.

I heard a School Principal talk about how a child only goes through each grade once. You’re only in 5th grade once. You only get one crack at high school. And how important it is that each step along the way be the best it can be; because this is the part of life that’s the most fun. You’re only a kid once.

And, over the years, I have heard dozens more great reasons to support overrides. All of them deeply personal; each of them fueled by an individual’s own upbringing, experiences and values.

For me, it’s really about wanting the best for my kids and for the rest of the young people in town. In my job, I get the chance to meet a great many new college grads – either as employees or as job candidates. I look hard at their resumes and cover letters. I interview them. I review their writing tests.

I can tell you firsthand that we truly do live in a very competitive, global economy. There are many more resumes than there are open positions. And, unfortunately, there are a number of countries that invest much more in education than the United States. I worry about what my kids will face when they try to make it on their own; just as I’m sure that my parents worried about me; and their parents worried about them.

The only things that we can leave our children that truly matter are a loving upbringing, strong values and the absolute best education we can possibly deliver. That’s why I am voting Yes on Tuesday.

I completely understand that some people feel they cannot afford a Yes vote. I would argue that they can’t afford not to, but these are very personal issues. Who am I to tell them what they can and can’t afford?

And there are others, too many others I’m afraid, who are concerned about where Franklin is headed and how financial decisions are made. I share that concern. We need to work harder to make sure citizens trust us with their hard-earned tax dollars; that we listen to their views; and that we do a better job explaining what we are doing and why.

People support overrides for many different reasons. On Tuesday, I hope you will look into your heart and find your reason to vote “Yes.” Thank you for your support!

Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

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