Yvette Bernecker and Meri Hoverman: Public schools should be a unifying cause

The last bus leaves Bridge Street School in Northampton at the end of a school day.

The last bus leaves Bridge Street School in Northampton at the end of a school day. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 06-05-2024 4:39 PM

Modified: 06-05-2024 8:52 PM

The contrast between the Health Department’s presentation and the School Department’s at last Wednesday’s City Council budget hearing was quite stunning. The Health Department’s presentation was inspiring and hopeful. The school budget presentation was confusing and disappointing. These two departments serve unique purposes and do immeasurable good for our city.

I am grateful for the good work of our HHS Department. It seems we have succeeded in prioritizing the worthy cause of addressing mounting public health crises. The crises occurring in our schools may be out of sight for most of us, but our educators are doing their best to share valuable insight on the situation. Their pleas for our city to maintain our school’s current services come from a desire to do the right thing for our students. It’s hard to imagine power or greed or any other ulterior motive driving school staff to spend their free time advocating for equitable services in our public schools.

If serving our at-risk community members with quality public health services can become a unifying cause for our city, so can providing our children with excellent public schools. We ask our School Department and city leadership to similarly aspire to do great things on behalf of the citizens of Northampton, our children and our collective future as a vibrant place to live.

Yvette Bernecker and Meri Hoverman

Bridge Street School parents, Northampton

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