(Editor’s Note: The following letter was read by Tammy Wyant Rill, of Washington, to the Region 12 Board of Education at its May 23 meeting.)

As most of you know, on Monday, May 16, the board of directors at Judea Nursery School voted to close the door on June 3 of this year, making this the final year of operation.

This decision was a heartbreaking one to make.

As a former student, teacher and current parent of this school, I believe it goes without saying how deeply devastating this decision was to make as a board member

Our community has suffered a tremendous loss and will never be the same.

To be extremely blunt and matter of fact, your decision last year to expand the REACH program is what brought Judea to it’s demise.

With a tuition fee of a mere $90 to $150 a month, lower than any other preschool in the area, including transportation, we simply could not compete.

In fact, you created a monopoly. An unfair, unjust monopoly. And you did so out of want. Not need.

Currently, the price to run REACH yearly is an estimated $350,000.

With a class size of, say, 44 kids, your price per student is approximately $6,000 per student.

Even using Common Core math in this equation, that leaves the taxpayers of Region 12 with the bill of $5,000 per student. For an expanded program that was wanted by your board, not needed.

When the extended REACH program was first presented to this board in 2013, it was stated that it would not cost us (the taxpayers) a dime, that it would run on, (and I quote), “generous community members and parents,” and will include “a nominal fee.” that “will allow the program to self-fund materials and supplies while not adding to the overall Region 12 budget.”

What is not mentioned in this 2013 proposal is the major expansion you made in 2015-16 budget. An extra classroom. Another teacher hired. Another paraprofessional hired.

The $140,000 you took from one fund in the Region 12 budget to put toward this extra REACH program (and have not made the money back on, might I add), without blinking an eye.

I sincerely hope the taxpayers of Region 12 are paying attention.

I can say that after watching this all unfold behind the scenes, I am disgusted and disappointed in this board.

You set a precedent of our willingness to hold high a want vs. a need, and you took a small business, an asset to this town and its education, down with it.

As the days, months, years continue, I hope this board will take into consideration what our children need, not what we want.

Tammy Wyant Rill