To the Editor:

On Memorial Day, Roxbury looked like a Norman Rockwell painting of a perfect small town community: bright blue sky and green grass, shiny red fire trucks, elders dressed in military uniform honored as heroes, the Shepaug band brilliantly playing patriotic tunes, Boy Scouts in salute at the Seth Warner Memorial, and Little Leaguers waving their American flags as they marched down Church Street.

This "painting" gives the impression of a community that supports one another: seniors leading our youth, old-timers embracing newcomers, all with the desire to build a strong, united town.

However, looks are deceiving.

Roxbury is a town divided. One group of residents wants to invest in the education of this town's youth.

We are the minority.

The majority of residents in this town are more concerned about the impact educating our youth has on their pocketbooks rather than one's moral obligation to do so.

I've lived in Roxbury for more than 10 years, and the residents in this town have not once made an investment in its educational system.

Yes, Roxbury historically passes the school budget every year, but this is not an investment. It's maintenance and generally has had minimal tax implications.

The moment the Board of Education attempts to pass a plan that invests in the education of our children but may increase taxes, Roxbury has responded with a resounding "no."

Many residents are quick to write large checks for our land trust, Friends of the Library, or to the many private schools in the area.

These are all wonderful organizations, but where is the support for our public school system?

During the first referendum, there was a lot of talk about the importance of Roxbury having a hometown school and that Booth Free School is the center of this community.

Does my child not matter once he enters sixth-grade at age 11? Is his education in middle and high school less important than in elementary school? Is he no longer cute or innocent enough to have your support?

Why is Roxbury not supporting Shepaug Valley School as passionately as it supported Booth Free School? Shepaug Valley School is our school, too.

Go back to the picture I painted of Memorial Day. It was the Shepaug high school band whose music energized the crowd and written across the chest of every Little Leaguer who marched in the parade was Shepaug.

If we tuition out the middle and high school students as some have suggested, you can erase these two staples from the Memorial Day parade.

How is our picture perfect painting looking now?

As an involved parent in this community, I am raising my hands in frustration and disgust and asking the residents of Roxbury: "What is it going to take for you to invest in the education of all the children of this town?"

The Board of Education can put forth plans that are educationally sound and fiscally responsible but, if the residents of this town do not take the time to educate themselves on the issue, it will be voted down due to fear.

I am pleading with the residents of Roxbury to care about my children, the children in this town, and the children of this district, Region 12.

Let's make the picture-perfect painting a reality and not just for show.

Paula Conway