Help Save Holyoke Schools

Please print the following letter.

You can either mail it in directly or submit it to Kourtney Senquiz Political Action Leader at Streiber School 40 Streiber Drive Chicopee, MA 01020.

March 9, 2015

To: Sentate President Stan Rosenberg, Sen. Don Humanson, Rep. Aaron Vega, Mayor Alex Morse, members of the Holyoke City Council, and members of the Holyoke School Committee

Esteemed elected officials,

We–MTA members, teachers, concerned residents and tax payers– call on all of our elected officials to stand with us in opposition to Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchel Chester’s, threat to take over our public schools.

Twenty two years have passed since the Supreme Judicial Court’s 1993 decision in the McDuffy vs. Secretary of State case affirmed that the Commonwealth has a duty to educate all public school students, without regard to their personal wealth or poverty, and without regard to their district’s fiscal capacity.

In meeting its obligation to the students and families of Holyoke, the state has many alternatives to a takeover, which would give a receiver control over the public schools and allow private companies to take a role in our public schools.

Holyoke does not need to lose control of its schools. Holyoke, instead needs resources to better serve its students. For more than 20 years now, the state has relied on various private partners to improve student achievement in Holyoke. It is not surprising that these outside approaches have yielded unsatisfactory results.

Holyoke educators, students, parents, and citizens know what kind of schools they want, and they are more than willing to share that vision with state education officials and political leaders.

We believe in the democratic process. They want to work with you, our elected representatives, to obtain the funding necessary to provide Holyoke children the schools that they deserve.

Do not let receivership take that control away from them.

Furthermore, the 1993 Education Reform Act’s centerpiece is the foundation budget formula, which determines what it costs to educate each student according to their needs. The Legislature recognizes that the formula is due for an overhaul, which is now under way. This recalculation of state aid for education could go a long way toward helping Holyoke battle the ravages of economic injustice that affect our schools and students. We urge you to join us in advocating for the resources necessary to create the public schools that Holyoke children deserve. Lastly, we ask that you respect our wish that public schools remain in public hands.