Hollis and Brookline should cooperate on apportionment formula

To the Editor:

I appreciated the letter from the Hollis woman in last week’s paper. She pointed out that there should be discussions and a study down about the tax apportionment formula that guides the Hollis Brookline school co-op.

She had some good points about how complicated the different factors can be. I felt reassured by her letter that Hollis citizens might have the sense of compassion for their neighbors that is needed to have a study done on making sure the apportionment formula is fair, not just based on how many students come from any one town, but also taking into consideration typical salaries for families in both towns, and property values in both towns (that would generally reflect the income levels).

It seemed to me that Brookline is receiving some state aid based on it being disadvantaged financially, having lower property values and lower-average incomes. Along with that, the residents are also the town with a greater number of people struggling to keep households together in a difficult economy and raise their children.

It would make sense that compassion and kindness toward your neighbor would open the discussion for a more fair and just apportionment of the cost of the schools. To say Hollis has paid for Brookline’s schools is simply not being honest. The schools are located in Hollis, and Hollis often has a voter advantage in guiding the schools. So a respect for the neighboring town that has helped build those schools and sports facilities – all located in Hollis – seems the compassionate thing for Hollis to do.

Bringing up the feeling that the apportionment formula is unfair at the meetings is not something to be simply brushed away lightly because the feeling of injustice evident at the meeting becomes the wedge between the two towns that so many people shared a concern about. The answer is to begin a study including members of both towns, explore a more just apportionment formula based on more than one factor, bring it to the table next year and have another vote.

That would show a true spirit of cooperation with both sides listening to each other and working out a fair resolution.