The following public was submitted to the Amherst School Committee on March 30,2021.
I’m writing to ask you to please restore the funds needed to prevent the reductions to the Art and Technology specials at the elementary schools.
First, these two areas are needed now more than ever. Art is one of the things that makes life worth living, especially in these dark times. And at a time when people are connecting via technology more than ever, Technology is essential to students’ lives, and will be a vital part of their future.
Second, all elementary children will suffer due to these cuts. Wildwood (WW) and Fort River (FR) students will lose out on things like arts integration because these two specials teachers at each school will be spending part of their time at Crocker Farm instead of at their home school. And Crocker Farm students will have a mish-mash of specials teachers, and will lose out on two full-time teachers who can get to know them over their years at Crocker Farm (in addition to losing out on arts integration like their WW and FR peers).
Third, this changes two full-time teaching positions into two part-time positions, which will surely have higher turnover, because when you’re working a 40% job, you have to also work another job, and/or you are keeping an eye out for something full-time. This is an equity issue that disproportionately harms Crocker Farm students, while also causing harm to WW and FR students. And it’s only happening this way because those two positions happen to be vacating at Crocker Farm. With a $24 million elementary school budget, surely you can find the $75,000 needed to prevent this harm from occurring.
Jennifer Page is a Crocker Farm parent