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I am very concerned about Superintendent Jefferson and the Harvard School Committee’s attempt to regionalize the Harvard public schools with the Devens School District by entering into a contract with MassDevelopment, as was brought out at the last Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

If Harvard parents wanted to have their children educated in the Devens School District they would have moved to Devens in the first place. Harvard has already spoken loud and clear on the Devens Contract, and said “No.”

1. In September of 2003, the Devens Focus Group commissioned a survey of Harvard Residents, and the vast majority — 77 percent — wanted the Town of Harvard, and Harvard schools to remain independent of Devens.

In the same Devens Focus Group survey of Harvard residents, 77 percent were against the Town of Harvard (School Committee and superintendent) pursuing the education contract for Devens students.

What part of this town-wide survey did the School Committee and Harvard superintendent not understand?

2. A “Disposition of Devens” vote is scheduled for this fall. This is clearly an attempt to undermine that vote by the Devens take-over faction.

3. The addition of Devens’ school district to the Harvard Schools will result in a diminished education experience for Harvard students due to classroom and facility overcrowding.

4. An increase of students enrolled in Harvard schools will require another school building project. Massachusetts just last week canceled the states’ 50 percent participation in all new school funding in the commonwealth. Therefore, 100 percent of any building project will be borne by all Harvard taxpayers.

The School Committee and the superintendent should cease and desist their attempt to secure a contract for the Education of Devens School District immediately, as this course of action has far reaching implications for all of Harvard’s taxpayers — not just students and parents of students.

Furthermore, I would suggest that the PTA sponsor a town meeting outlining the benefits and consequences of such a contract before any further action is taken.

JOHN LEAHY

Harvard

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