To the Editor:
We moved to Hampstead from Windham, NH. We had suddenly become a one-income household and needed to move to a less expensive home in a town that had all the great elements we wanted, including an excellent school system. After a lot of searching, we landed in Hampstead.
There has been little to make me regret this move, except for the condition of Hampstead Central School (HCS). I have watched the ratings for HCS drop as class sizes increased. When I moved the school was rated 17th and it is currently 77th in the state. I fear without the much-needed renovations and expansion to lower class sizes and bolster the academic environment, the school will continue to decline.
I love that we live in a community that came together the pandemic hit, and creates birthday car parades to make the kids feel special. I love my neighborhood. I love that when my Kindergartener refused to go to HCS because he didn’t want to leave his preschool, within 30 seconds of being in the presence of his teacher, he couldn’t wait to go. I love that when a family is without water, the town rallies behind them. And when someone suffers an unimaginable loss, we find ways to help.
Where I struggle in my love for Hampstead is the school. I hate the idea of my 5 and 3-year-old breathing in car exhaust since their classrooms about the car pick-up/drop-off line. Children have needed to go to the nurse because their classroom reached 90 degrees and they overheated, there is no AC in that space.
I want you to know that the thought of leaving this town makes me sad. I don’t know if I can put my children in a school with so many health issues. I want them to be in a school that promotes education in the best environment possible.
The thought of taxes increasing is tough for many, but I believe this is worth it. This investment will help maintain Hampstead’s status as a desirable community to move to and live in.
If this doesn’t pass, I will have to consider moving or stay in town but send our kids to private school - something we can’t afford. We can, however, find a way to make that $25 a month work for our family. I hope that many of you will do the same.