By Jeremy Spector
The City of Framingham is facing a critical vote on debt exclusion. What city residents are really being asked to vote on is to what extent they are willing to invest in the next generation.
As a 1995 graduate of Framingham High School my fellow citizens invested in my classmates and me. The time has come to invest in the next chapter of public education in Framingham which is why a “yes” vote is so critical.
Like the students of today, my middle and high school years in the Framingham Public School system were also fraught with big decisions.
In the early 1990s, facing decreasing student enrollment and mounting financial challenges, the town decided to execute a plan to streamline the school system’s facilities into a single middle school and a single high school.
Reactions of students, teachers, parents and alumni broke down along similar lines as the debates of today’s Fuller Middle School question. Ultimately, following tense and divisive debates and town meetings, the government shut down one of the remaining two middle schools and merged the two high schools into a single Framingham High.
I was a member of the first graduating class of that combined and crowded Walsh Middle School. Subsequently, I was a member of the first class to spend all four years of high school at the combined Framingham High School.
When President Bill Clinton visited Framingham in 1994, he did so in recognition of Massachusetts’ legacy of investment in public education. Public education has always been an implied contract between the community and the next generation in which working age adults contribute to the municipal coffers in order to ensure the construction of a solid educational foundation for the next generation.
By failing to invest in a replacement for the crumbling Fuller Middle School would be to break that contract. Speaking plainly, the school we call Fuller Middle School actually exists in the aging shell of what was once Framingham South High School.
Since 1998, the people of Framingham have benefited from the significant cost savings derived from the ability to retrofit the former high school facility. However, the time has come where that facility has outlived not only its utility but it’s ability to safely house and educate students.
Even with the State House prepared to kick in nearly $40 million of the anticipated $98 million price tag for the proposed new-build, this is still a big ask for the community at large. But, Framingham finds itself at yet another educational cross-roads. I’d like to think that voters will take this opportunity to invest in the future of the students and of the community as a whole and vote yes on December 11.
Jeremy Spector was a long-time resident of Framingham. He is a graduate of Juniper Hill School (1989), Walsh Middle School (1991) and Framingham High School, class of 1995. In 1994, he was the Framingham High student government president and had the honor of introducing President Bill Clinton when he visited Framingham. He left Framingham to attend college, join the Navy and now the U.S. Department of State. His parents still live in Framingham, but he is living in Hanoi, Vietnam, stationed at the U.S. Embassy. Last Thanksgiving, a Naval promotion ceremony for Spector was held at the Edgell Memorial Library in Framingham. Spector was promoted to a commander in the U.S. Navy.