LWVN Letter to the TAB about Metco

March 4, 2015

To the Editor:

Joshua Norman wrote in a recent opinion piece about Newton’s high cost of educating out-of-district students that it is “wrong to keep forcing Newton taxpayers to pay to educate these children”. We disagree. The cost to Newton taxpayers for continuing to educate out-of-district students must be viewed in the context of the benefits to Newton’s children and to our entire community.

The vast majority of Newton’s out-of-district students participate in METCO, arguably our school system’s best tool for counteracting pervasive prejudices and misunderstandings about race that continue to plague our society 150 years after the abolition of slavery. Our participation in the METCO program shows Newton children from a young age that it is important to our community to learn, work and play with people of all races.

METCO has, for decades, been providing opportunities for children in suburban Newton, which is not racially diverse, to learn alongside–and create lifelong bonds with– inner city children, especially African American children.

METCO enjoys broad support from Newton’s citizens because of our community’s strong commitment to equality and diversity, especially the goal of racial diversity in our schools. In addition, parents and educators understand that diversity in the classroom promotes critical thinking and enhances problem solving skills.

The League of Women Voters of Newton, along with the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and local Leagues in other communities in the Boston area, have supported METCO from its inception and support it today. Newton’s continued funding of this proven program is money well spent.

Bonnie Carter

For the Steering Committee

New Date: Austin Street Meeting on March 1st

This was sent out to residents from the City of Newton about the postponed Austin Street meeting:

The Austin Street project Open House/Community Meeting previously scheduled for February 8th has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 1st from 1-3:00 PM at the Newton North High School Cafeteria.

You are welcome to stop by for some or all of the time and view some visual displays, talk with the developers and city staff, have your questions answered, and see how ideas have evolved based on feedback from previous community meetings. Continued community input is critical to our task of working with the developer to determine the project design that will be submitted for a special permit.

Whether you feel fully informed about the Austin St. parking lot or are just beginning to learn about the possibilities for this project, this is an opportunity to gather information and share your thoughts, including proposed solutions.

We hope you will be able to come.  For questions, please contact Nancy Hyde nhyde@newtonma.gov.

LWVN Meeting on Austin Street Project

On January 14th, LWVN welcomed Scott Oran to present the current proposal for the Austin Street parcel (currently where the parking lot is now.)  Click on the link for notes on the Q & A session after the presentation.  There were still many unanswered questions (listed at the end of the notes) which have been submitted to the Austin Street Partners.  As soon as we had answers, we will post them.

Special thanks to the West Suburban YMCA for the use of their meeting space for the event.

January Topic Meeting-Austin Street

Charter Commission Signature Drive Update

Our signature collection team has been making great use of the beautiful weather we’ve had this summer! As of the June annual meeting, we needed 60 completed petition sheets (2,700 signatures). Over the summer, 6 of us have collected 24 sheets (1,080 signatures) at the library and the farmers’ markets, which brings our remaining tally needs to 36 sheets (1,620 signatures). [Read more…]

LWVN urges Aldermen not to rezone Austin Street site

Below is a letter that LWVN sent to the Board of Aldermen today urging them to reject the petition to rezone the Austin Street parking lot. [Read more…]

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