To The Editor:
As a veteran teacher at Harwood Union High School, and as a parent whose children attended Crossett Brook Middle School, I believe that a single middle school which consolidates resources and equalizes opportunities is in the best interest of all students in the Harwood district.
The current school board budget is the cheapest to the taxpayers, saving $1 million and consolidating the students into one middle school.
I read a recent letter to the editor which urged voters to vote the school budget down. Why? Some just don’t want to merge. The main objections of the middle school teachers at both HUMS and CBMS are that the merger is too rushed and that there is not enough time to make a smooth transition. I understand their point. Yes, there is a lot of work to do to make it happen.
But what happens when the voters vote down a school budget? Does the board know why? No. They typically assume it is because it is too expensive and the taxpayers don’t want to pay the cost. So boards present to the voters another budget, most likely with cuts. The other budgets presented to the board that did not merge the middle schools increased the cost to the taxpayers.
So where is the cost savings to the taxpayer in the current budget? By merging the two middle schools, there is a reduction in staff due to attrition, retirement and other choices. That is where the $1 million savings comes from.
I understand how the middle school teachers feel about this overwhelming challenge, but we must deal with our current situation. It’s notable that at least five of the board members are educators who are sympathetic to the teachers’ concerns. If the board were to postpone the merger for a year, teachers who know they will be RIFed may simply leave now, creating other challenges.
This budget is best for taxpayers and students. Rather than forcing the board to cut programs, let’s vote yes.