Cunningham: Please vote no

Toni Cunningham
Letter to the Editor:
Amherst should vote no on education referendum

Letter published in Daily Collegian March 27, 2017

I’m a local parent of two kids, ages six and four. I’m writing to ask that you vote no on Tuesday’s referendum ballot.

It may seem appealing at first–$67 million for a new school!—but this proposal is actually going to close one of our schools, and completely change our beloved system of small K-6 elementary schools. It will consolidate 750 children, who are in second grade through sixth grade, in the new building, on a site with small, fragmented playgrounds. It will send their little brothers and sisters—all 300 of the kindergarteners and first graders—to a school in the south end of town. In fact, the smallest children at my end of town will be on the bus twice as long, stopping first at the big kid school to the north of town before driving through downtown to the K-1 school. With this plan, 23 buses will stop at both schools twice a day.

I and other parents, teachers and community members want to keep our community schools. We currently have three small schools, with 400 or fewer kids per school, where the youngest kids can have fifth and sixth grade reading buddies, where everybody is a single bus ride from their school and where each school has great playing fields and playgrounds.

All of this would be lost with the proposed consolidation of elementary schools. Of course, many of us do want to renovate or rebuild our schools and deal with some outdated floor plans, but this plan throws out the baby with the bathwater.

We can vote this down, and devise a better solution to address our old buildings. Other towns have done just that.

Please help us “Save Amherst’s Small Schools.” Please vote no in the special referendum on Tuesday, March 28.

Toni Cunningham
Local Amherst Parent

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