Feels town play 'Russian Roulette' with its children
Published 4:20 pm, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
To the Editor:
Last school year, I, like many others here in New Milford, attended the New Milford Board of Education special meetings to discuss the estimated enrollment decline and possible closure of John Pettibone Elementary School.
Town residents were given opportunities to voice concerns, ask questions and plead that the school remain open, because many do not share Mayor Murphy's vision for the educational future for the town's children.
We believed we were being heard.
In the end, the fact of the matter is this: Five New Milford Board of Education members sat at those meetings and patronizingly listened as hundreds of their constituents spoke against the idea of closing a town school.
And those hundreds offered so many ideas to help the town, not hurt it.
Then, on June 18, the last day of the school year, those same five people voted with an aye of their voice and a dismiss of the hand to the very people who voted them into their BOE positions.
What's done is done and likely cannot be changed.
We understand that, but many of us will still fight for what we believe is right for New Milford's children.
What's not right is when parents receive phone calls asking families to transfer their children to different schools because, shockingly, enrollment in their district school has increased, and the school now cannot accommodate a proper class size that is conducive to both a good educational experience and teacher work load.
What's not right is when parents search for answers via emails and phone calls and receive no response from New Milford public schools.
What's not right is being told it will be eight more months until some of us know which school our children will attend next year.
What's not right is that, over this past summer, many families received countless test emails from a new email alert system, only to then have some families receive no notification of whom their child(ren)'s teachers would be for this current school year.
What's not right is the blank class schedule many high school students received prior to the start of this school year.
What's not right is when children are being welcomed to the wrong grade by letters they did receive.
What's not right is when parents receive poorly written, grammatically incorrect letters from a school system of educated professionals to whom we have entrusted to educate our children.
It is not right.
New Milford public schools are playing Russian Roulette with the children in the town, with the families who choose to live here, and the families who, like mine, cannot afford to move away due to declining property values caused in part by the political happenings in the town we once thought would be a good place to raise our family.
Do better, New Milford.