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Shannon Gascoyne Shows True Leadership

To the editor:      

      We are writing in support of Shannon Gascoyne for the Amherst School Board. We have witnessed her commitment to our town and its people through tireless energy and volunteerism. She has the temperament and thoughtful communication style that will serve the Amherst School Board well.

      Shannon has shown true leadership as a member of the Executive Board of the Amherst PTA, the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee, and the Amherst Recreation Commission, just to name a few.

      Our elected officials must be able to take responsibility for their actions. We know Shannon Gascoyne is a leader who will be accountable for her decisions and how she communicates and works for the people of Amherst. Shannon has a proven record of listening and working well with others to find solutions. She is campaigning with open dialog that is appreciated by our family.   

      Shannon Gascoyne has the knowledge and experience to serve on this important board for our great town. Please join us on March 14th and vote for Shannon Gascoyne for Amherst School Board.


Jim & Michele Burke 


Gascoyne is Protective of What’s Best for The Collective

To the editor:            

      I’m writing to proclaim my support for Shannon Gascoyne for Amherst School Board.  I’ve been an Amherst resident for over 9 years, and have 3 children in the school system, in the 1st, 6th, and 7th grades. I’ve had a child in the portables at Wilkins, and now at AMS where I’ve heard first hand about how smelly it can be when there’s a sewerage backup.  For these reasons and more, I have been so appreciative of Shannon’s voice and work on the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee, and was thrilled to hear of her ASB Candidacy.

      From my personal experience with Shannon, she makes a fantastic candidate for this role.  She listens to opposing opinions with the goal to understand and move forward.  She works to consider all reasonable solutions to a problem. She is protective of what’s best for the collective.  Amherst School Board and the community would be so lucky to have her! Thank you


Jennifer Schiele


We Are Better Than This

To the editor:            

       As Americans, we are about to commemorate “Bloody Sunday,” the 1965 March on Selma which occurred on March 07, 1965.  When the people marching got to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were beaten badly for standing up for their rights and for the truth.  It was led by a young John Lewis, who went on to serve his community and state in the US House of Representatives.  This is not my attempt at a history lesson, but simply to repeat a statement the Late Great Representative John Lewis said on many occasions, “…we are better than this…”  He died believing in this great American Dream where different people can work out their differences and live together in peace.

       It is election season in the Town of Amherst.  It seems meanness and hostility are ratcheted up more each year, especially on social media.  Are we better than this?  If there is a disagreement, it is no longer fashionable to have a discussion, just get with a few likeminded persons and attack.  The excuse for this hostile behavior is that some feel “passionate” about what they believe.  Is there any wonder there’s a problem with internet bullying amongst some children?  Are we better than this?

       There seems to be a very loud vocal minority sharing their beliefs as to what is best for all of us.  They lecture or talk at you, but when asked to sit and talk together, they will not.  Are we better than this?

       This school year, many facts have been shared with the community.  Some facts suggest there are opportunities for improvement, or raise serious questions about certain warrants on the ballot.  Rather than discuss civilly, it is the fashion of some to be rude and disruptive at public meetings, or resort to social media and gripe.  Given there are some challenges with our children’s tests scores, it is the fashion of some to make excuses, deny the significance of testing, and/or complain about the messenger.  The fact is the rest of the world is moving on with quantifiable measures of academic excellence through testing.  Worse than that, our children may be denied opportunities later because they are told testing is unnecessary today.  Are we better than this? 

       The school budgets may be a sore point every year.  Some seem to only want to cut; others seem to want to spend like drunken sailors.  The school board, with input from the administration, must develop responsible financial request of the voters.  Our schools have independent budget committees, who consider if the warrant articles are fair and reasonable for the entire community.  If the school board will not take into consideration the entire community, it is likely the proposed budget will be voted down, and a default budget will be adopted.  If it can be proven the default budget was padded, there is possibility it will be challenged in court.

       This year there are some incredible “big asks” on the ballot.  The largest contributor is Warrant#12.  When it is no longer reasonable to question a $103+ million request, something is terribly wrong.  To be told there is only one big solution, then demand the community capitulate, is a mistake.  Last year the voters said, NO!  So, forcing an even lesser project to the ballot, for the same total cost, makes no sense to most.  People who are suspicious of the project are asking for more reasonable solutions. But are being told that other options have been considered, and the “big ask” is the only solution.  Many disagree but have been ignored and dismissed, only to be told it is time to move ahead with the “big ask.” Recently, a school board member, who is running for reelection, quipped to a group of senior citizens, that you have to rip off the Band-Aid and pay for the new school rather than fixing what we already have.  Seriously?  Are we better than this?

       There is a myth that “everyone moves here for the schools.”  The reality is that 75% of the households do not have school age children in the town schools.  Yet the same incumbent school board member, running for reelection, gives a sermon to the same senior citizens that every family she spoke with  moves here for the schools.  The context of this sermon is simply false. People move here for many reasons. 

       How did it happen that these self-appointed guardians are claiming they are standing up for the schools?  Why do we let them get away with using emotional black mail by suggesting anyone who does not support their plans does not “love” the children? Why do we let them get away with ignoring the facts?  Why do we let them get away with rudely disrupting our public meetings, or using bullying tactics on the internet? They shouldn’t, any longer!  We are better than this! YES! It is time for this generous town to stand up to the bullies, get involved, halt the educational experimentation, demand excellence in education, elect school board members who will not be rubber stamps, stop the entitled waste of money, and stand up for what is right.  If only 20% to 30% vote, we may continue to get what we get.  Please plan to vote. We ARE better than this!

       There are some “big asks” on the ballot this year that could paralyze this town financially for years.  This election matters to all of us, not just the few who think for us.  Please vote on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at Souhegan High School.  Every vote absolutely matters!  If you need help getting to the polls, please ask someone.  Reasonable people can find solutions and live together in peace.

Dwayne Purvis,


(Chair, ASD W&M)

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