2005-12-29 / Letters to the Editor

Keep junior high program intact

This is the tale of two small towns, Jamestown which by any yardstick is a wealthy community and a small rural town in Maine, pop. 2,500, which is only wealthy in its people and their committment to the education of their children. I have watched in dismay while the School Committee and the parents in Jamestown have allowed the number of teachers to decline as the school-age population has dropped, and, at the same time, increasing the number of administrators. That the teachers are the spine of your system and that some programs take a fatal hit seems to be ignored. Now the junior high is set for the decrease next year — such pivotal years for our children. What a shame!

The small town in Maine is the one where two of Frank’s and my grandchildren are being educated — we could not pay out of pocket for a better experience for them. The sixth-grader has never been in a class greater than 14 and our second-grader has 11 other students in her class.

To measure the wealth of the town, you need only to know that our granddaughter was the only child in her kindergarten class who did not qualify for free breakfast and lunch each day. Yet the school system and town has been steadfast in keeping small classes — there are at least two in each grade.

Our grandson has been provided some wonderful experiences through this system and qualified this year based on academics to travel to Washington, D.C., to help lay 5,000 donated Christmas wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. Children without financial resources for such a trip were quietly awarded scholarships.

There is still time to keep the junior high program in Jamestown intact. Talk to your School Committee and your Town Council members. Let them know that the school system here has to have its priorities straight — more administrators are not the answer. That is like saying if we had more generals we could win the war in Iraq faster.

Diane C. Caswell,

Jamestown

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