Cutting teachers bad for students

LETTERS

April 13, 2008

An open letter to County Executive John R. Leopold:

I am a parent of students at Sunset Elementary and Old Mill High schools. At a recent PTA meeting at Sunset, I was informed of the proposed budget cuts for the county school system.

While I understand the need to make budget cuts and the importance of having a balanced budget, I am concerned about the proposed loss of teaching positions throughout the county.

At Sunset, we will lose three teaching positions. Currently, my daughter is in one of three third-grade classes. With the projected allocation she will be in one of two fourth-grade classes next year. This means she will be in a class with more than 30 students. With a class this large, individualized instruction is diminished and classroom distractions and behavior problems increase. This will be a huge step backward in the school's efforts to raise student grades and standardized test scores.

Sunset is only one of many schools that will suffer next year if these cuts are made. I am asking you to please allocate enough funding to maintain the current number of teaching positions in the county.

Sandy Murphy Pasadena

Without educators, future looks grim

An open letter to County Executive John R. Leopold:

Two of my children attend Riviera Beach Elementary School. I have to admit that I am fairly new to the PTA and to being actively involved in issues that affect the school and the community.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that five positions are going to be terminated at our school. Four are classroom teachers and one is a teacher who helps children who are having difficulty learning in the regular classroom environment.

On top of taking our educators you will be adding more special-needs children to the already packed classrooms. Our school is older and the classrooms are small. Jamming more children into those classrooms will pose fire safety issues and mean less interaction with the children who excel and more time spent trying to catch up the children who need that individual attention.

If your agenda is to keep advancing mediocre or substandard students, then you are surely achieving your goal. I hope upon realizing the severity of our situation that you will make yourself more aware of the individual schools so that you make better judgments pertaining to the well-being of your future voters and the citizens who voted you into office.

In the short time I have been volunteering, I have been impressed with the relationships the teachers have built with the students. What better way to spend our millions of taxpayer dollars than on the people who make a difference in our children's lives -- not on feasibility studies and designs for schools that may not even happen.

Our children are the future, and if not properly and safely educated, then our future looks mighty grim.

Clarissa Keefe Pasadena

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