, Newburyport, MA


March 28, 2014

Proposed school cuts are appalling

To the editor:

Funding for the Amesbury Public Schools must allow for at least a level-services budget. The proposed cuts to school programs that were made public last week are appalling. They include, but are not limited to, reduction of the kindergarten program to half-day, loss of the Tech Education and Family Consumer Science programs at the Amesbury Middle School, and elimination of the Early College Program — an innovative program at Amesbury High School that allows students the opportunity to take and get credit for college classes during their high school years. This program is unique in the area, and has been a great source of pride to the school, and of both educational and financial value to its participants.

In addition to these preposterous suggestions, also on the chopping block at the high school are the loss of a foreign language teacher — leaving only two for the entire school — and the “reduction” of the music and drama program, effectively leaving no music or drama classes at all, nor a Drama Club (which just won several awards at the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild drama competition), and only woefully part-time teachers for band and chorus.

Reducing the kindergarten program to half-day is ridiculous. It would be a major step backward in the education of our youngest residents. All students need exposure to a variety of disciplines and experiences in their formative years. If there are no outlets for creativity, be they music, drama or even tech education, how are children to learn what is “out there” in the real world for them? How are they going to find out what motivates them and makes them shine, or where they might excel? Having no music or drama classes for a student whose interests are in musical theater is akin to having no science classes for a student hoping to go to college and becoming a doctor.

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