Sara Swanson

Letter to the editor: Changes to school district a necessity, high schoolers part of caring school community

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May 7, 2017

My family has lived in Manchester for 15 years and we have sent three children through our school district. Our youngest son is finishing his sophomore year at MHS. Our kids have gotten lots of opportunities to learn and grow here, both through academic offerings but also school clubs and after-school activities. This is a small school district and we look out for each other. My son is one of the high school students that will be sharing a building with 7th and 8th grade students, if the decision is made to shift buildings that way. He currently mentors a 5th grader one afternoon a week, helps with a local Down syndrome event, and participates in a volunteer social group with a younger high school student. Is he the scary kid that people are afraid of, when they talk about their worries of sending the 7th/8th up to the high school? When you complain about how impossible it is to imagine sharing a building with high schoolers, please remember that you’re lumping in my kid, and his friends who share similar characteristics and activities, with your imagined “big scary high schoolers.” We are a community of caring people, and that includes our high school students.

Our teachers and administrators are genuinely interested in keeping our kids safe, and giving them a great learning environment. I remember when our oldest daughter was in 2nd grade, and a big storm blew through in the afternoon, knocking a tree onto the roof of our house. Karin Villarreal (the current Klager principal) was Ivy’s teacher that year, and she called me before sending Ivy home, just in case our house was unsafe and she needed a different plan. Not because someone required Karin to do that, but because she cared about Ivy’s welfare. This is where we live!

While I don’t relish big changes to our district, I recognize that state funding deficits and population changes are making those big changes a necessity. Our school board and superintendent have done a lot of homework, assembling cost savings of different building consolidation plans. Nobody is rushing in to a decision. The only choice that really can’t be made, is to do nothing.

If people in our school district have opinions and want them heard, expressing them on social media is easy, but not effective. Go to school board meetings, or call and speak to members of our school board. They are members of our community, doing what is essentially a very time-intensive volunteer job. Students, teachers, administrators, and school board- all working together with our community, trying to make the best decisions possible to keep our district thriving in a tough time. We’re lucky to have such a great team.

Theresa Herron

Village of Manchester

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