To the Editor:
I urge all Shrewsbury voters to support the proposed override.? The town has critical needs, and the resultant tax bills would remain affordable and reasonable.? For example, cuts in police staffing have reduced officer-initiated, deterrent activities, while community complaints and calls for service have risen.? The proposed override should mitigate this by restoring FY2008 staffing levels.? This staffing level would remain more than 25% leaner than average for similarly sized New England communities.
On the school side, Shrewsbury has experienced a decade of increasingly severe cuts.? Even with parents paying more than $1m in fees, the town is in the bottom 4% in MA in student-teacher ratio, the bottom 2% in spending on curriculum, materials, textbooks, supplies, and technology, and the bottom 11% in per-pupil expenditures.? Now our school's performance has dropped category.
As a member of the Fiscal Study Committee, I worked with those who have been traditional proponents and opponents of an override.? We agreed that the town has aggressively managed costs and found no reasonable opportunity for further cuts.? Shrewsbury residents pay the second lowest average property tax in the Assabet Valley Collaborative.? Shrewsbury falls within the bottom 4% in MA in our contribution toward target education funding levels based on our wealth.? That means we have the 13th largest shortfall.? The proposed override would mitigate these severe shortages while continuing to minimize the tax burden.? Even with an override, Shrewsbury would offer a phenomenal bargain.