Last year, we touched in the topic of the College’s decision to give $250,000 to Mount Greylock High School. Other (anonymous!) alums had similar concerns. It now turns out that this may not have been a one time gift. iBerskires quoted School Committee Chairman Robert Petricca as saying:

“I think we’d like to avoid an override [i.e., an increase in local property taxes]. I think an override would be phenomenally difficult. Once we get a better sense of what the constituencies in the school are going to do, we’ll talk to Williams College about what they would consider.”

The college, he said, “was very generous to us last year.”

Very generous indeed. There is nothing wrong with Petricca not wanting to pay higher taxes. There is nothing wrong with the nice people in Williamstown not wanting to pay higher taxes. But I have a problem with the College donating money so that Petricca and his friends can keep their taxes low.

This would be fine if the College had infinite resources but, for some reason, they keep asking me for money. Anytime that the College devotes resources to Mount Greylock High School, there are fewer resources for .

Also note that Economics Professor Ralph Bradburd is a member of the school committee. I think that it is marvelous that professors like Bradburd actively participate in local affairs. [Full Disclosure: Bradburd was my professor for ECON 251 almost 20 years ago.] Yet there is still a potential for conflict here between the interests of Williams as an institution and the interests of the particular individuals who currently run it. Perhaps Petricca has good reason to believe that the College will come through again this year.

President Schapiro addresses this topic in the current Alumni Review, but it does not seem to be available on-line for linking.

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