Investment is worth the cost

To the editor:

We extend a big ‘thank you’ to the Jaffrey-Rindge School Board for restoring district funding for the SAU 47 portion of the QUEST program. We were pleased and relieved that the board recognized the importance of QUEST and the value of this three-way partnership. It is an acclaimed summer program for 75 Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School students at no cost to their families. The impact on students is substantial.

Every year, at least 75 percent of our campers have improved in math. Camper to adult ratios never exceed 5 to 1. Rotarians, Conant Interact students and dozens of other volunteers donate their time and talents, assisting in the classrooms and running afternoon activities that range from swimming and kayaking, to art, archery, tree climbing, airplane rides and QUEST Olympics. None of this comes cheap.

The Jaffrey-Rindge School District is budgeting $37,000 for teachers and busing for this summer’s QUEST program. The upside is that for every dollar the school district contributes, it gets $5 of additional value added in donations, gifts in kind and volunteer time. Here’s the math: Rotary contributes $27,300 in direct costs and $8500 of gifts in-kind. Add to that the over 3,900 volunteer hours, valued at over $86,000 by the Department of Labor Statistics. Franklin Pierce University contributes $30,000 in facilities, meals at cost and staff time. All this totals over $185,000 and makes the school district contribution 20 percent of the total.

Led by the Jaffrey-Rindge Rotary and assisted by our SAU and FPU, this team provides four weeks of mentoring and life changing experiences. Morning classes in math and English, designed to halt the “summer slide,” are combined with camp-type activities. Over a 100 volunteers from Rotary and our community enjoy the FPU campus, including classrooms, dining hall and athletic facilities. We are proud of what the SAU, FPU, Jaffrey-Rindge Rotary QUEST partnership is accomplishing and thanks again to the Jaffrey-Rindge School Board and our local community for making a wise investment in our middle school students.

Tonya Albee, Tom Bennett, Peter Russell

Rotary QUEST Committee

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