Below are the notes from our fourth meeting which was held in Sterling. We were lucky enough to have some special guests who were able to give their unique perspective from the state and from Sterling itself. The special guests were: Town Administrator – Ross Perry, Maureen Cranson – Chair of BOS Sterling, Steve Hemman – MARS, Sarah LaMountain Sterling School committee Rep. and State Representatives Kim Ferguson and Harold Naughton
4th Meeting – 12/6/17
First Church Sterling, MA
Welcome – Lauren.
Joint SC meeting with Quabbin recap
-”Citizen Action is needed to get the auditors report followed through on”
-Linda spoke and introduced our group, which introduced us to Steve (MARS)
-Can watch on holden tv.com. And Lauren will post notes
100% transportation funding campaign
-showing logo and spreading the word out about getting 100% costs from state
-starting with petition on change.org, currently 692 signatures, goal is 10,000
-Rep. Ferguson: what is the best way to get through to the state that we need the full funding for transportation????
Rep Ferguson —
- spoke to teachers yesterday about our group and using the grassroots movement.
- It takes a lot to get it on the radar, because many reps don’t have regional districts.
- Having people from our towns send letters and emails is hopeful.
- Regional districts caucus — They are sending letter to Gov that we are asking for 100% reimbursement in your budget.
- Emails are already being seen by Chairwoman Peisch of Ed Committee. IT WORKS.
- When inboxes get multiple emails they notice. Then they get 100s it makes a difference. Already gaining attention.
- Go with chairs of ways and means and chairwoman of education. Lt governor and governor… he is making budget now. House and senate work from his budget, if not at 100% it’s up to them to put it in final budget.
Steve Hemman from MARS –
- MARS sent letter and Darryl McCall wrote one that is the base.
- We get push back and it’s up and down with the percentage.
- What if we could get a guarantee of 95 or 95% every year, pass law
- 9c cuts, if during mid year they see that revenue is short it’s required to balance budgets.
- Reach out to other regions, widen circle.
- Start with this and then move on to other areas to push
Rep. Ferguson- Didn’t want to go for multiple pieces at once. What is quickest that can impact budgets this year? Also support amendment on funding of Anne Gobi’s bill.
Steve Hemman from MARS –
- hearings throughout the state (one is education) in Feb. first house ways and means, THEN the senate.
- Will bring map of the state and what each district gets to next meeting.
Sterling reps: town reps sent a letter for 100% funding.
Maureen Cranson –
- need to push to all the taxpayers. The more places you can get the general public involved.
- Write articles in as many newspapers as possible.
- If you can get more money, even if 90-95 it puts that much more money into the towns coffers.
- Right now the school budget is 52% of total town budget.
- It’s not just a parent issue, it’s a taxpayer issue.
- (50% is not unusual as percentage of town budget.) – Steve
Rep. Naughton – On average only 22% of population has involvement with the schools. Make it everyone’s concern, money comes from other pots if not paid here.
Also, parents don’t really know that there is an issue.
Steve Hemman– The most valuable thing you have is your home. First question is what is the school system like? What is the reputation? Having a good school system because you want a good price on your house. You want a good system that shows that you care about education and the future. We are proud of our town. Culture is what you create. Get it in the press that show that people have pride.
At town meeting, what if 18 year old kid came and said what was lacking from his schooling. Can young person attest to what’s happening?
Don’t underestimate the power that you have on social media sites. Encourage people to please share this post.
Rep. Naughton – Strategic alliances. Ex: fire dept. people love fire fighters. Talk to those groups. Get people to the town meetings. Don’t stop swinging.
Maureen Cranson– Target the seniors. Set up a meeting and ask them to come and talk to them.
Is there an impact having citizens come to Fincom and selectman meetings? Yes.
- And also come hear what we are going through to balance the budget.
- In Sterling, we would welcome someone coming to speak to this and get on the agenda.
- People actually do watch the meetings on tv. Have an interview on sltc tv.
- A lot of older people who don’t use social media: they read the papers and watch tv.
Make video for YouTube and put it out there. – Steve
Steve – Make timeline and strategic plan and make sure you spread out your volunteers to not burn people out.
How to reach out to HS kids? Get a handful of kids.. get petitions out at sporting events, lunchtime. Parents can bring kids here and kids bring the petitions back.
Student councils, honor society. Invite president of each class on student council? Students can hold forum and invite people into the school.
-Share signing petition as an event. Invite them to sign this. Try to get to 1200 signature and 1500 signatures. Create event on FB for date (sign petition). 1000 by week and a half by now.
-Current FB events: who are we writing to this month.. give them 2 at a time.
-Attend local meetings
-Attend selectmen meetings
-Is there a way to get it as a resolution on town meeting (Town warrant). Can ask them to say a report on the status of the schools? Can present what the issues are upfront before they begin. Get that in all 5 towns.
-Schedule posts at 5:30. Sat/sun at 8 and 9 o’clock
-HS kids invite leaders, activity period and they can send the letters around
-Reach out to other organizations. Interested in how we as a community can work together to get money back into the community? Can we come speak? Churches, lions club,garden club,
-Daytime mommy meetings? Play spaces around town? Request from town clerks: lists who have kids 0-5.
-Reach out CFCE women.