Hear Her Out – Councillors should hear what Susan Bolster has to say about town’s commitment to Northeast Voke

Thursday, June 4, 2009
By Cary Shuman

The Town Council flat out rejected the increase that the Northeast Regional Vocational High School was seeking in Winthrop’s annual appropriation to the school located in Wakefield.

Town Councillor James Letterie had done his research about the issue and announced the numbers at the meeting: Winthrop’s funding to Northeast has increased a whopping 70 percent over the past few years. Letterie added that Winthrop spends more than $12,000 for each student from the town attending the school. There were 52 Winthrop students at Northeast this year.

We commend Mr. Letterie for spelling out the funding stream in terms that were easy to understand.

We certainly understand the council’s desire to make sure that every penny is accounted for during these trying fiscal times.

However, numbers by themselves exist only in a vacuum. Town Councillor Richard Gill wisely suggested a meeting with Susan Bolster, Winthrop’s representative on the Northeast Regional School Committee, and the superintendent-director of the school.

Susan published a letter to the editor last week that set out the many legal issues involving Winthrop’s connection with the vocational school, as well as relative costs compared to other regional school districts.

Further, Councillor Jeanne Maggio made a good point when she noted that Northeast Regional provides a valuable education for students seeking to learn a trade.

That there are 52 Winthrop students in the program speaks volumes about the need that the school fulfills for our student population.

The council wants to know more about the costs of educating Winthrop students and what the funding formula is for each of the 12 communities in the Northeast Regional School District.

These are all good things, but we’re not too sure that the bottom line is going to change.

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