Hingham’s Budget Crisis


Hingham Town Hall

On Tuesday, January 31st, a meeting was held to discuss the town’s budget crisis

Josie Pappone, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday, January 31st, a meeting was held to discuss the town’s budget crisis. The town of Hingham is short $6.2 million and balances to the budget must be made. This balance is necessary and mandated by state law, however, it may put various staff positions and student services at risk. A proposal was made to the School Committee to eliminate several positions across the school district and cut down on student resources, services, athletics, arts, and other funded facilities. Taking care of school-related issues alone would revive about $4.8 million. 

The remaining $2.3 million has put a minimum of 22 town positions at risk including local government, public safety, recreational, cultural, and human service-related positions. These cuts could affect the town catastrophically by minimizing the availability of mental health resources for citizens, closing the library on Sundays, and decreasing the overall maintenance of our town. 

A possible means of avoiding the aforementioned affects would be passing an override, which is an increase in taxes to allow the community to accumulate enough funds for future expenses. However, an override must first earn a majority vote at the next town meeting then majority vote on town election day to be passed. 

But what does this crisis look like for students, specifically? A senior at HHS commented on the affects it would have on creative expression; 

“I understand that the with worst case scenario, so many artistic outlets would be taken from students. All after school middle school extracurriculars would be cut, an additional fee would be placed on participation in band at an elementary level, and any music electives (AP music theory, songwriting, and intro to piano) in high school would no longer be offered. Middle school is a pivotal time where students can discover their interests beyond the classroom, and to take this opportunity away in a district known for its excellence would be unfortunate. For me, when thinking back to my time in middle school, my most memorable experiences were the musicals. Seeing the passion and drive from the middle schoolers in Music Man, made me so happy, realizing the program has such a bright future. My fear is that if students aren’t given this space to try this art form when they are younger, they won’t make space for it in high school.”

Students continually worry that if a fee is attached to playing an instrument and/or participating in drama, students will lose interest altogether. A student who participates in band includes, “The band fee is troublesome. I was lucky enough to have a family member offer to pay for my instrument so I could participate in the band when I was in 5th grade, because my parents did not have extra money to rent an instrument. When I was younger, if there was an additional fee over $400, like the one being proposed now, the likelihood of me ever joining band would have been slim to none.” Student participation in these intitutions is already on the lower side at the High School level, and without the proper foundation to start kids on their musical journeys from a young age, that number will continue to decrease. It would be a shame to strip these opportunities away from the youth of Hingham, so it is pivotal that we work together as a community to combat the budget crisis.