Mickey Rathbun and Chris Benfey: Amherst schools must be top priority

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 04-01-2024 11:42 AM

We were heartbroken to hear Talib Sadiq, principal of ARHS and interim principal of ARMS, describe the woeful physical state of the middle school building at the March 6 School Committee meeting. He reported that the building’s roof leaked so badly during a heavy rainstorm in September that ceiling tiles fell in eight classrooms, requiring class reassignments, and several inches of water collected in the auditorium. After enumerating other serious problems stemming from an insufficient school budget, he expressed his frustration with the townspeople of Amherst who “once again have chosen not to make the public schools in Amherst a priority.” Instead, as he pointed out, the townspeople have decided to prioritize the expansion of the Jones Library. The town’s insistence that the Jones Library expansion proceed as originally planned, regardless of its impact on the school budget and other town necessities, is insupportable. It’s not too late for the people of Amherst to face the truth: a fancy new library isn’t going to save Amherst if its schools are falling apart.

Mickey Rathbun and Chris Benfey

Amherst

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