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Let’s move forward

Date: 11/21/2011

I was disturbed by the events of the Oct. 11 School Committee meeting where one of the members took the opportunity to publicly express his opinion and a confrontation ensued.

I can appreciate one of the member’s questioning the transparency of the transfer of $106,200 for improvements to the new athletic field. However, once knowing the facts, I believe the decision by the School Committee chair and vice chair was one of common sense. First, they made an executive decision (for which they have authority) to transfer surplus funds to purchase a fence (for the safety of the athletes and fans). Secondly, they upgraded the track to prevent injury and purchased equipment so our athletes could hold events and compete.

We need to thank the chair and vice chair for making important, calculated decisions while keeping the town and student’s best interests in mind. They purchased equipment necessary for safety and for holding events (albeit during the day only).

In regards to the transparency of funds, the chairman acknowledged the importance of being completely transparent. At the end of the day, weren’t most goals achieved? The town has an athletic field it can be proud of, the students can compete at home, and taxpayers didn’t have to shell out additional monies.

The catalyst for writing this letter was the article in the Nov. 14 edition of The Reminder “High school student calls out School Committee.” Was the senior class president speaking for the whole class when he questioned the integrity and accountability of the members of the school committee to the children of this community? Where do you think school spirit is fostered? I graduated from ELHS and some of my best memories were attending home games with my friends.

There was a quorum and overwhelming support, at this year’s May Town Meeting to make additional improvements to the new track and field. Unfortunately, the reality is we live in an unstable economy. Residents didn’t vote against track and field improvements, they voted against a Proposition 2 1/2 override — against reaching into their pockets for additional monies during a time of economic uncertainty. How fortunate are we, that there was this unexpected surplus in the school’s budget to subsidize some (not all) of the necessary improvements?

Take a look at the field the next time you drive by the High School. Each time I go by, it is being used. Certainly proof that the School Committee was surely responsible and accountable to the children of this community — look at the children/students playing sports, enjoying the outdoors and time with their friends. None of that would be possible without the safety fence.

Lastly, I encourage the senior class president to rally his classmates. Let’s all embrace the opportunity to promote school spirit and foster friendships by seeing this track and field project to fruition. Let’s spend less time pointing fingers and move forward working together as a community.

Greg Dobek

East Longmeadow

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