“East Taunton Elementary School (ETES) is a safe and well-maintained school that treats each student, family and staff member with dignity and respect!”
Dignity & Respect: That’s the value statement for one of the local Taunton schools most impacted by the proposed Wampanoag Indian resort casino for Taunton, MA. ETES, which borders the proposed development property and is less than 300 yards from the proposed casino entrance, is not the only impacted school. The Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical High School sits across the street to the North of the gaming complex site and City consultants also found Taunton High School, Martin Middle School, Coyle-Cassidy High School and Taunton Catholic Middle School will all be impacted to some degree by the casino location.
How are Mayor Hoye and the Mashpee Wampanoag providing dignity and respect to the children, parents and teachers of Taunton schools?
The intergovernmental agreement (IGA) negotiated between Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye and Wampanoag Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell calls for $360,000 in annual payments to support Taunton Schools; however, the recent consultants report (confounding that it was delivered AFTER the Mayor signed off on the IGA) identifies a minimum of $890,000 in annual additional costs to the Taunton schools with the influx of lower income casino workers’ children into the system. That's a $530,000 annual deficit and NEW burden the taxpayers of Taunton will have to bear. But this doesn’t even take into account the full impact on children this casino will have and only accounts for costs to Taunton public schools. Parochial and private schools will have increased burdens as well.
Safe & Well Maintained Schools: What else is in store for East Taunton children, parents and teachers as they come to and from school each day with a new resort casino complex next door? One new treat, in addition to dodging the 21,000 cars and delivery trucks coming into the casino daily, will be the changed landscape surrounding the complex. Next to high traffic (and significant increases in DUI cases) what do all casinos bring with them which currently don’t exist in East Taunton? Check cashing stores and pawn shops of course!
Do a Google maps search of any urban or suburban casino site (Atlantic City, Reno, Las Vegas, etc…) and “search nearby” for pawn or check cashing. The routes to and from casinos are littered with the cash convenience stores where casino goers can turn those social security checks or grandma’s silver into casino coin to feed the slots.
Pawn shops thrive around Indian casinos according to this May 21, 2012 media report on the Seneca New York Indian casino. You know what else comes with pawn shops? Property crime! Currently there are no check-cashing outlets or pawn shops near the schools and neighborhoods – MoneyTree and Fall River Pawn being the current closest sources, and they are responsibly located outside of residential neighborhoods.
An independent study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2008 found that pawn shops were associated with an increase in crimes – specifically robberies, burglaries and larcenies in the neighborhoods where they were located. This report found:
“Increases in the number of pawnshops are shown to raise the rate of those crimes in which pawnable property is stolen and to have no impact on the rates of those crimes in which such property is not taken. The results support the hypothesis that pawnshops trade in ill-gotten merchandise…. robbery, burglary, and larceny are crimes in which pawnable property is generally taken… an increase in the number of pawnshops raises the incidence of these types of crimes…"
Research by Florida police found the pawn industry contributes to increased rates in property crimes. Further, simply to manage that increased crime local police resources must be devoted to monitoring activities at area pawn shops.
So parents, kids and teachers - let's start preparing our kids to dodge traffic and deal with increase crime as the WampaWorld Indian Resort Casino Complex comes to Taunton.