Saturday January 12, 2013

Cutting programs is not the answer

I recently retired as principal of Mount Anthony Union Middle School. Today I write as a private citizen to express my views on the request from the MAU Finance Committee to reduce the budget proposal by $300,000. Having worked closely with the committee and the MAU Board for the past 12 years, I know that they value education and make every reasonable effort to relieve tax burdens. I also know that we have already cut programs, and after years of slashing supplies, there is little left to cut, except more programs. Mr. Payne is absolutely correct when he states that cutting special programs such as World Language, or Art, would take away the advantages offered by a large school. It would also move us away from the Vermont School Quality Standards, and deny students opportunities crucial to their growth and development.

These courses are not extra subjects that students simply take for fun; they are called unified classes because they bring together math and literacy skills in a new environment. Make no mistake, cutting here will cut student skill levels in core classes as well.

I recently ran for the office of state representative. Citizens were clear to me about what we needed: 1. MORE support for educational funding from the state and federal government. 2. MORE community based programs like the Twilight Program at the high school. Kudos to Mr. Payne and Mrs. Maguire for fighting for these programs. The MAU Board will soon have to decide if the money cut is offset by the loss of programs. As a taxpayer, I worry about increased property taxes, but cutting programs is NOT the answer. Please support a quality program at MAU. We should not balance our budget on the backs of our students.

WARREN ROAF

Bennington