25 August 2009

Interesting Reader Email about School Funding

Dear Mr. Blechman,

I just finished reading your book, Leisureville. I am a sixty seven year old retiree who lives in Natick, MA and my wife and I have a small condo in an " age qualified" older gated community in Fort Myers, Florida. I absolutely loved your book. I think it is the best book I have read in a long ,long time. You are a great writer, and you certainly know how to capture attention. Fortunately, my condo complex in Fort Myers and the people there are nothing like the Villages and their residents.

One story I would like to relate to you is as follows. I am a twenty five year elected town meeting representative in the town of Natick, and I remember a few years back we were discussing at Town Meeting whether we should support an override to build a new middle school in town. The town seemed to be divided between the older residents, and the young parents in town.

The older residents were resisting the school override, and the young parents were trying to get support for the schools. On the night of the vote, the young parents showed up in droves, but unfortunately many of them were not elected town meeting members, so they couldn't vote that night. When the discussion, and the vote looked like it would go against the young parents, I got up and told the story that many years ago, when I was a young parent and a town meeting rep, the town was closing schools everywhere in town, and trying to cut the school budget at town meeting in all ways possible, I had made a speech urging the older town meeting reps to help us young parents, and they did. Then I said that now, twenty five years later, I found myself in a new position. Now, I was the older town meeting rep being asked to support the schools. The premise of my argument that night was that one generation must support the next generation, just as I, and other parents, were helped by town meeting twenty five years prior. I told the town meeting that it was our obligation to support the schools, just as you said in your book. I am happy to report that the schools did get the support that night.


Nick DiMasi

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