Be sure to vote in Gill, Montague on Monday

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

With the upcoming Gill-Montague Regional School District school committee elections, I am writing to encourage residents of both towns to vote on Monday.

As emotions continue to run high around the Turners Falls High School mascot and logo, I’m hoping our community doesn’t lose sight of the hard work that needs to be done in the coming years. As someone who has already lived through the same mascot/logo issue (at my own high school, the Ottawa Hills “Indians,” and my middle school, the Iroquois “Braves,” both mascots and logos were changed for the same reasons as the TF Indians), regardless of the outcome, I would very much like to see our communities move quickly beyond this issue as more pressing challenges need our attention and energy.

It’s concerning to me that there appears to be a slate of candidates formed to run for the four school committee positions on this year’s ballot. With the challenges the Gill-Montague district faces, now more than ever it is important for residents to evaluate all candidates on the merits of their ideas and what skills and experience each might bring to our school committee.

I encourage all candidates to reach out to their elected and civic leaders in both towns to share their reasons for running for school committee. In the past several years, Gill and Montague have worked well together with district leadership in regard to our district’s challenges: resources, transportation, school choice, and the budget. These challenges will not only continue in the coming years, but are expected to intensify. The civic leaders group formed last year has been working on these challenges and has made good progress. The group has formed an alliance with the Pioneer school district HEART committee to share ideas, is investigating and applying political pressure on the state to revisit its Foundation budget and state school aid funding formula, is researching ways to consolidate transportation and other resources, and is exploring creative ways to attract students to our school district.

I encourage all the candidates to reach out to the members of this group, as it will be important to hit the ground running if you are elected or re-elected. As a teacher, parent and resident I can’t stress enough the importance of giving our children the best possible education we can provide, and having a multiplicity of voices and perspectives is imperative to achieving this goal. Whether you are running for an elected position or not, please find ways to be involved with your schools and community. And remember to vote on Monday.

Greg Snedeker