As a lifelong resident of Concord, former Concord Middle School teacher, and former middle school principal in Westwood and Holliston, I have a unique perspective. The increases in property taxes that prove to be unabating, especially in light of the looming Middle School Project, have made me acutely aware and fearful that I, as well as other seniors, may not be able to continue to live in the town that we love. It is disheartening to see so many affordable housing plans and humanitarian projects that ignore the citizens who have helped the town create the ethos that it has always had. Concord has always honored its history and those who have contributed to it. I am beginning to wonder if those values are being abandoned in the name of progress.
As a middle school educator, I believe in the team concept, and I don’t think a cafetorium fulfills the needs of a cafeteria or an auditorium. Sanborn already has a dedicated auditorium which at the very least would be better than a hybrid cafetorium. I think it is equally important, however, for Concord students to grow up in a town that values multi-generations by taking measures to keep their seniors in town. One giant step in that direction would be to make tax adjustments for those on a fixed income. For example, exempt qualifying seniors from tax increases and keep their rates stable. Seniors no longer use the schools, but they often volunteer and contribute to the school’s culture.
As a septuagenarian who has lived in Concord for most of those seventy odd years, I would like to remain here as my father and mother did. The proposal I am suggesting is one that Concord is capable of enacting.
Maureen Melisi Szal