At 8:10 Saturday evening, North Reading will have made a vitally important decision about its future. A majority yes vote puts North Reading on sound footing, with $47 million in state funding toward 21st century schools that will better support teaching our students skills to make them successful in college and in a 21st century economy. These schools support not only students and educators, but keep our community attractive and vibrant to current and future residents.
A no vote or skipping the vote altogether carries risk for more expense later. Nothing ever gets cheaper as time passes. Not cars, not gas, not groceries, and NOT school construction. North Reading knows from experience that waiting for a better plan means waiting for a more expensive plan with less state funding. The delay hurts all North Reading taxpayers.
In the proposed plan, North Reading gets two schools with the economies of scale of one school. The shared core facilities are the key to the cost-effectiveness of the design. They are not luxuries, rather they are important elements of teaching physical fitness, performing and fine arts, and technology. The auditorium will be modernized and large enough to hold the student body of each school for performances and presentations. The cafeteria is split for separate lunch periods, but gains economy from a single kitchen between the two spaces. The gym and library offer flexibility and room for separate classes to meet.
The schools will remain on their own schedules, with different arrival, dismissal, and class change times. This limits both traffic at arrival and dismissal and assures that Middle School and High School students are appropriately separated. The same model works well at several schools in the area, including Ipswich, Triton, Manchester-Essex and Austin Prep in Reading.
In the past, ballots in North Reading have been won or lost on less than two dozen votes. Once, a mere four votes separated Selectman candidates. “Every vote counts” is not a cliché; it is a fact. Make your YES vote count on Saturday. The polls are open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. and all precincts vote at St. Theresa’s Parish Hall.