I am a longtime resident of Waterville, a homeowner in Ward 4, a taxpayer, an educator, and a mother whose two sons attended Waterville public schools from elementary school through high school (they graduated in 2012 and 2014, respectively).

As students in our public school system, my two sons were able to get the kind of education they needed to prepare them well for college. Both went on to fine schools — Bowdoin and Brown University — and are looking ahead to bright futures. After spending most of my early life living in big cities (New York City, Tokyo, Los Angeles), I settled into Waterville in the early 1990s with surprising ease and joy. I loved raising my children here (both were born at Thayer hospital) and I have given back to the community, and the schools, in all the ways that I have felt able, both personally and financially. As just one example, I was a key member of the team that worked long and hard and was ultimately able to raise the funds to build the new, wonderful outdoor track near the high school.

I am writing to urge our City Council and the mayor to support our public schools and the school budget. Scott Taylor had an excellent opinion piece in the Sentinel on May 15 with which I am in complete agreement (“Community Compass: Waterville school system faces great risk”). We simply can’t afford to let our public schools crumble, or to let our teachers continue to struggle — as they have been doing — to deliver more with less, and with less financial security.

Our schools are the foundation of our town’s future and no amount of “revitalization” — not to mention democracy itself — will endure long if our young people are unable to thrive, and strive, as learners.

Elizabeth Leonard

Waterville

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