HomeOpinionLetter to the Editor: The Elmwood College Campus

Letter to the Editor: The Elmwood College Campus

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Once again, I attended another Elmwood School Project meeting on July 18th.  Amazingly, this school project is nothing short of a college campus with an amphitheater, outdoor classrooms, various recess areas, fields and TWO vegetable gardens.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t children out of school in June? What happens to a vegetable garden then, or in the winter when it’s buried under snow? 

What a downer for these kids once they leave this school and have to move onto something far less glamorous! Or is the town going to continue to build these campuses? 

I also want to know when the town is going to stop taking land from homeowners, because at the rate they are going they will own everything. A perfect example is our disastrous Main Street project. Why should taxpayer money continue to go toward schools when we are losing valuable people in our fire and police departments, along with town officials who can go to other towns and make more than what Hopkinton offers? Is our safety and well being less important that the schools? Why not have anyone voting for these school projects with children pay more in taxes as this benefits them far more than our elderly population on social security trying to make ends meet. 

A three-story, three-wing campus isn’t going to meet the far greater needs of this town. I always thought it was teachers who made a school successful, not a building. 

Ellen Holmes

Foemmel Fine Homes

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  1. We all support each other with our tax money. Should the same people with kids in town pay less money into social security or programs that benefit the elderly? The world would be a far better place if we helped more than we hurt.

  2. Listening at the Town meeting and reading Op-Eds I think the concern about being on fixed income while taxes increase seems like reasonable concern given some of the recent tax increase projections. That said, we do have a tax relief program for seniors with need. I wasn’t aware of this program until fairly recently so sharing this link from the Town’s website in case others are unaware. https://cms5.revize.com/revize/hopkintonma/SeniorSolutionsGuidebook.pdf

  3. i feel the majority of taxes paid by all property owners in town should benefit the all the people in town. not just the grop of people who come into town to educate their kids and then move out without paying the costs fully for the projects that won the vote. this town no longer seem to be for generations of families.

  4. JustMyTwoCents, the problem with your logic is that, your payments into social security will eventually benefit you. As a senior, I will never see any benefit in paying exorbitant taxes for the school system of Hopkinton.

    Also, the percentage of my taxes going into the schools far (!) outweighs any going to seniors or senior programs.

    Your logic is disingenuous at best.

  5. I understand the concern about taxes. Those who raise children here do pay them, even if “only” for 12-20 years (depending on how many years they have children in the district), even if they move later. That’s a lot of time.

    Some of the things you mention, such as multiple recess spaces, are due to the number of children in the school. It’s not mathematically possible to rotate all the kids in a school this size through one recess field in the course of a school day. And yes, recess is really important for health and for better learning. Kids are not meant to sit in chairs all day. Nor should we be seriously considering removing all the gym space at Elmwood to install classrooms (one of the options).

    Vegetable gardens can provide excellent scientific learning opportunities and are pretty low cost. Perhaps we could leave space for them and try to get grants later to cover the cost. They can be used in the spring and in the fall.

    It sounds as though the committee working on this is looking at all options to provide a good learning environment while looking for ways to reduce costs. My hope is that costs might be reduced by building in space for future improvements but not finishing everything at once (for example, leave space for the outdoor classrooms but don’t do the work in phase one but down the road a bit). Pitting neighbors against neighbors is not the way we solve this.

    Also, what do you mean about taking property away from residents?

  6. Yikes. What a far cry from the Elwood I went to 30 years ago! In my opinion, the purpose of primary education is to prepare children to be independent and happy
    adults. To do so they need to learn respect, accountability, responsibility, critical-thinking, adaptability, and how to get along well with others — to name a few. You don’t need anything fancy to teach kids these things. Great teachers make all the difference. Give the teachers the resources they need to be successful and the compensation they need to be retained and the building itself shouldn’t really matter. I’m grateful for the education and childhood I had growing up in Hopkinton, but I am happy now (out of town) to be without the exorbitant taxes.

  7. We all want to do the best we can for the future. None of this was considered adequately when we allowed huge construction projects with 2 or more children per household. Maybe the tax rates should be on a sliding scale with number of years living in the town. Many will leave town as soon as their children finish high school to avoid the taxes.

  8. “ I always thought it was teachers who made a school successful, not a building.” Exactly! You can have a state of the art building, but it’s the talent inside that building that makes the school system what it is. There are many folks in town who simply cannot absorb additional large tax increases, and I am not just thinking of retirees. How about low to moderate income households, single parents, and long term residents? Passing this proposed project and accepting the associated costs will be pricing people out of town. I urge everyone to voice their concerns to the committee in charge of this building project. I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a more moderate design.

  9. The op and these comments sounds like the equivalent to “when I was a kid we walked 5 miles in the snow uphill to school” mentality. It’s a fixed mindset when it could be a growth mindset.
    I remember my parents going to town meeting in the 80’s and people complaining about replacing typewriters with computers. Sounds insane right? That they didn’t have computers growing up and they were just fine. And not to long ago I remember a former select board member opposing the turf fields before he played on grass when he was in school and it was fine for him. Just be user it was good for us growing up doesn’t mean it has to be the same for our kids. Times and ways of thinking change and so does education. I’m exhausted of hearing “this isn’t the town I grew up in”. Good it shouldn’t be! I’m would hope things would change and revolve over the past 30 years.

    Also there are plenty of vegetables that can be grown in the fall and winter and it’s a life skill.

    Lastly 2 things can be true at the same time. We should be taking into consideration our senior population. Why can’t we do both? Take care of our kids with the best possible education/facility and take care of our seniors. It shouldn’t be one over the other.

  10. Krissy,
    I agree with you when you say things should change and evolve and of course it’s not the same town many of us grew up in and that’s ok. The issue is how we define progress, especially for our youth. Is progress nicer, bigger, shinier things? I look at children and young people today and see a lot of anxiety and depression. There’s a constant sense of having to keep up and not miss out…. Social media is possibly the worst thing to ever happen to childhood. I see kids go to a “good” high school so they can get into a “good” college and then, what? They have a $300k loan to pay back on a $60k annual income. All I’m saying is that I personally prefer type-writers and real grass and I’m not giving up on the telegraph either. Also, that bike “lane” is egregious, I’m just saying.

  11. “To do so they need to learn respect, accountability, responsibility, critical-thinking, adaptability, and how to get along well with others ”

    I suggest these are skills best learned in ‘free play’, which largely exists no more. Most kid activity now is overseen by adults, who make all the decisions. Much learning took place in KID organized sports, for instance, wherein the rules are made up and enforced by the participants.

    Peter Gray, a prof at BC, has written on this extensively.

    (OMG, I’m sounding like a curmudgeon!)


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