EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 19, 2013

Letter: Cultural council funding at risk in budget

To the editor:

The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a state budget for fiscal year 2014 which would cut Massachusetts Cultural Council funding for the next year by $1.5 million, or 15 percent. In Haverhill, programs funded by the Haverhill Cultural Council (HCC) for school children would be the hardest hit, as they are given priority in the HCC granting process.

The Bradford Rail Trail art project, for which the mural for the trail is being created by student artists at Haverhill High School, is a prime example of the sort of creative endeavor that would be jeopardized, if not impossible without grants from both the MCC’s STARS program and the HCC. Take a walk in July, and enjoy the result.

Another example is a four-day overnight science program for elementary children, which the HCC is helping to fund.

Here, children, in a fun environment, are immersed in specific science topics, guided by experts in their fields, creating opportunities to spark the budding scientific genius which the classroom is unequipped to provide.

These are programs which involve our community, providing creative and affordable or free outlets for our children. It would be such a loss to everyone to lose some of the dreams, the encouragement to excel, of even more of these young people.

There are many wonderful projects for which we already lack sufficient funds, and must reject. We do not need a cut in a budget which is already half of what it was 10 years ago. In the economic downturn we are now fighting to endure, the MCC/HCC initiative to fund programs to encourage the imagination, talent and ambition of our community, young and not so young, is one of the best ways to spend some of our tax dollars.

Let’s encourage our legislators to sign on to the MCC’s amendment to the House budget proposal, which would restore rather than reduce funding.

Karren McCabe

Chairman

Haverhill Cultural Council

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