Letter: Resident suggests enhancing school programs in existing buildings

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Mr. Shuler, Ms. Krushinsky and Mr. Scaglaiarini for their letters to the editor (directed at our BOE) which echo a lot of my same sentiments regarding the current plans our board has for our school system. Without being redundant, I will add a few other thoughts.

The board indicated on October 13 that they would make no motion to close an elementary school (at this time) despite the suggestions of the LRPC. They indicated that excess space at the elementary schools can be used for additional programs such as science labs, world language at the elementary level, more room for occupational therapy and physical therapy, etc. I think that's great and those are all great thoughts, so here is my question... Why doesn't the board feel that extra space at the middle school level (that they say we will have if we keep Harborside open) could also be utilized to enhance programming?

They talk about adding world languages at the K-5 level? How about if we put them back into 6th grade first? How about if we add other world language options at the middle school rather than just Spanish? How about more elective offerings or higher level classes for advanced students? Why are we not giving the same consideration at the middle school level for enhancing programming within our current facilities?

Why build dedicated art and music rooms at West Shore (at a cost you have no idea what it will be) when you can find space within existing structures (and to Ms. Krushinsky's point, handing Harborside back to the city does not take it off the taxpayers so either way, we will pay to have that building renovated).

I agree with the others that it is time to put politics aside. I believe many of us in this town were sorry that Tuesday wasn't time for a BOE or mayoral election as I am sure many of us would love to see some changes right here at home.

Closing Harborside is for the BOE to decide and please keep in mind that your charge is to do what is best for our students.

Sherri Franzman