Letter: What your tax money buys

To the editor:

There are many philosophical and pragmatic reasons to invest in public schools. Most people agree that our children deserve the best education we can afford to provide them; likewise, most people accept the conventional wisdom that a good school system fosters a vibrant community. Unfortunately, in times of economic uncertainty, priorities get skewed: we get sidetracked arguing about the formula for the default budget when what we really should be talking about is teaching and learning. As two long-time members of ConVal’s Education Committee, we would like to present five good educational reasons to vote in favor of the district’s budget on March 12.

1. Full-day kindergarten throughout the district will provide a consistent academic foundation — with time for social adjustment and play.

2. Curriculum development is essential as we replace the State Grade Level Expectations that were mandated by No Child Left Behind with the nationally recognized Common Core Standards.

3. Middle School Emotional Support Program allows students with significant emotional disturbance to be educated in their own community and dovetails with a program at the high school.

4. Integrated Preschool Program serves the two ends of ConVal’s educational spectrum: Early Childhood Education students from the Applied Technology Center are afforded experience in a preschool for our youngest regular and special ed students.

5. Arts Enrichment Program supports FACTS (Famous Artists Come to School) and engages elementary students in interdisciplinary projects.

The ConVal District has made tremendous strides over the past six years. Our elementary students have a guaranteed core curriculum, which has resulted in a slow but steady rise in test scores. The two middle schools offer strong academics and an impressive array of extracurricular opportunities. And ConVal High School has a new positive culture, acknowledged by students and faculty alike, and recognized on a state level. The district has momentum; we must pass the budget to maintain it.

Mary Loftis

Beverly Bacon

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