To the Editor:
I am in support of the 4.24% budget increase. My husband and I moved to Easton about three years ago because our belief was that Easton had a great school system for our daughter. Our daughter will be entering kindergarten at SSES in September 2020. The greatest service Easton provides to its taxpayers is the school system. In order to continue to attract young families to move to Easton, it is critical to have a great school system that provides not only the core curriculum but extracurricular activities that help our children develop.
Our school leadership is telling us that the quality of our schools is being compromised because of the continuous cuts their schools have had to accept. I hope that these cuts will stop so we can provide our children the education they deserve. My wish is that we can maintain the small class size as I believe children at this young age require more personal attention. I am a strong believer in starting a second language as early as possible in the school system.
For the past two years, my five-year-old daughter takes a weekly Saturday Spanish class that runs from September to June from 9:30 to 12:30. I support the budget increase in hopes that SSES can also offer Spanish to our schoolage children. There is so much research that shows language helps cognitive learning and increases the likelihood that the child will carry the language skills to adulthood.
I understand that this increase will also be used to provide necessary services such as a Social Worker/School Psychologist and critical Continuing Education for our teachers. Given the pandemic we are all experiencing, I believe a Social Worker/School Psychologist is more critical now then ever before. There will be children who experience depression and/or anxiety and will require help to manage these emotions as they return to school from quarantine. I am also in support of ensuring our teachers get the necessary Continuing Education they require.
Just as our state requires CPAs and attorneys to have a certain level of expertise, I believe the same standard applies to our teaching community. Would you want a CPA preparing your taxes or auditing your business if they didn’t take the necessary required education? I am disappointed to hear from many parents how the schools have not funded extracurricular activities for our students in recent years. These extracurricular activities are equally as important as the core curriculum subjects.
After school programs enable children to take on leadership roles and build their confidence that is needed upon entering college and the professional work force. If these skills are not developed in school, where will they get them? Although my daughter is not yet old enough to utilize the benefits of the Media Center, I am in support of funding headcount to make this resource available to students. I believe it is a misuse of town assets if the Media Center can’t be used for its intended purpose. I heard many parents at the recent BoF meeting express the value their children received when this center was available.
This Media Center resource needs to be funded. This budget increase is reasonable to support (1) the contractual obligations, (2) the low student to teacher ratio (3) extracurricular program, (4) social worker/psychologist, (5) Media Center, and (6) teacher continuing education.
I don’t believe any of the “asks” from the BoE are “nice to haves.” This increase supports the basic needs of our children’s education. I understand this is a difficult decision but I believe this education increase is critical to not only to support of current families but also the continued growth of our Easton Community. I am interested in learning more about the actions being taken by the BoF to bring in Easton revenue from opportunities other than taxes. Can someone share any information with me about how we can generate more income from sources other than taxes?
Thanks again for your time.
Jennifer de Jesus