To the Editor:
Stockbridge Town Meeting (May 15) voted to adopt a school funding formula which
will raise their taxes in order to bring tax relief to Great
Barrington. Wow! And, thank you. I hope my fellow GB residents
appreciate how remarkable and generous a move that is.
The school funding debate hasn’t always been civil among the three
towns. I agree with those in Great Barrington who have said the
school funding formula hasn’t been fair. Good schools bring benefits
to a town beyond just educating children, benefits like a prepared
workforce and higher property values to name a few, and those benefits
aren’t easily divided on a per pupil basis.
On the other hand, Stockbridge taxpayers have a good point: if one
town houses 70 percent of the district students and another only 15 percent, should
they really be expected to contribute to the budget equally? If
Pittsfield were part of our school district, would Barrington
taxpayers really want to ignore the number of students sent by each
What the three towns have done, through the hard work of the RAAC [Regional Agreement Amendment Committee], is come up with a compromise that recognizes both
arguments. All three towns had to approve this change in the funding
formula. That was an easy thing for GB voters since it would save us
money, and not too difficult for West Stockbridge which will see
little change. But it took courage, integrity and generosity on the
part of Stockbridge.
Again, thank you Stockbridge.
Thank you for considering the interests of all children and of the
greater community. Thank you for not making a decision based solely
on saving your own taxpayers money.
On Monday night, Stockbridge didn’t say “What’s best for us?” You
said, “What’s best for ALL OF US?” How rare is that today?
Thank you, Stockbridge.
The writer is a selectman in the town of Great Barrington.
Editor’s Note: The Berkshire Edge and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center have joined forces to encourage discussion about the value of community. this letter responds to that effort.