'Heartbroken that agendas outweigh education'

To the Editor:

I have been a New Milford resident for nine years.

My son just finished his kindergarten year at John Pettibone Elementary School and my twin daughters will begin kindergarten at JPS this fall.

The decision was made to move forward with the closing of JPS. I am both heartbroken and outraged by this decision.

I cannot speak highly enough of this school. In every area, in every interaction, we have felt welcomed. We have felt safe. We have felt like we belonged.

My son has learned more this year than I ever could have imagined. And it is due to the Pettibone faculty, the Pettibone atmosphere, the Pettibone education.

But it is more than our emotional attachment to this amazing school. The decision to close this school is wrong on so many levels.

From the beginning, it seemed like the boards mind was made up, but I hoped against hope the public outcry to keep Pettibone open would sway their decision, sway them away from political agendas and dollar signs.

Clearly the education of our children means nothing to the elected officials of this town because this choice does not benefit our children in any way.

The very people we voted for, who are entrusted to make the best choices for the kids in this town, have made an unimaginable decision.

How exactly is an overcrowded middle school ("tight," I believe, was the word used by our superintendent) beneficial to our kids?

How is moving third- graders out of an elementary school a wise assessment?

And how is adding impressionable sixth-graders to seventh- and eighth- graders sensible?

How are unnecessarily long bus rides beneficial to our kids? Have they even tested the true length of these bus rides, or did they just give us their best guess?

How is putting hardworking teachers and staff out of a job helpful to anyone?

Did they hear us at these board meetings? Did they hear their other board members pleading with you to listen to reason?

We do not want this school closed because it is so abundantly clear it is not the right choice.

For once, I thought naively someone would really, truly think about the kids.

But it is clear as day that agendas outweigh education.

I am truly sickened by this outcome. Only time will show them what a detriment this choice will be to this town.

I am respectfully asking the Board of Education to re-vote on the tremendous decision. The people of New Milford do not want this school closed.

We will not give up on Pettibone.

Meg OToole

New Milford