To the Editor:
In response to the announcement made at the March 22, 2010 Board of Ed meeting, I wonder why the current problem facing Wyoming and South Mountain schools—specifically the sharing of a technology teacher between South Mountain and Wyoming schools—has not been openly covered by the Item and Patch. Lisa Levine (a parent at Wyoming School) eloquently addressed this problem. The Item chose to ignore her presence and position.
We understand that with the financial aid cuts made by Trenton we have to make sacrifices. However, I ask if the sacrifice is equally borne by all schools in the district?
We have already had losses not experienced by the other schools. The Washington School neighborhood lost its school when it was sold to the state. South Mountain lost its neighborhood school when it was decided in 1983 the school was no longer necessary. At that time, the board intended to sell the property. The South Mountain community opposed this. Thank God they did. At that time, the community was told our children would all be bussed to Wyoming. We did not like it, but we did it. We did not spend unnecessary money on a redistricting consultant.
Last year Wyoming School was reduced to two fifth grade classrooms. We now have 27 children in each classroom (the largest elementary sections in the district) housed in classroom built to accommodate 25 students. Four children have to hang their coats in the hall. They also have to use plastic bins stored in the hall to hold other possessions. At one point, Wyoming had to send a new fifth grade student to South Mountain because there was no room. Wyoming and South Mountain also currently share a music teacher.
How can it be contemplated that South Mountain and Wyoming schools not have a full time technology teacher? How will these children excel in the middle school without the benefit of a full time technology teacher when their peers are not similarly deprived? Gone will be our morning broadcast (which the children love) and many other programs if we are forced to have a part time teacher.
To suggest that sharing a technology teacher will not be a sacrifice for our children is absurd. Our technology teachers not only teach classes; they support our classroom teachers. They video tape lessons and programs, they produce our weekly announcement program, they run staff development programs for teachers and this year three information sessions for parents. The technology teacher also inventories all tech equipment and supplies and troubleshoots all problems in our school allowing Ed Center technicians to service the three larger schools. Is the Ed Center prepared to send someone to Wyoming and South Mountain whenever we have a problem?
As the governor of New Jersey has said, state aid should not be affecting the children nor should programs be eliminated. Why is Millburn eliminating an elementary technology position and adding an additional administrative position? The elementary technology teachers have a connection with the children of Millburn. The coordinator of technology is an added layer of administration. Our current assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and technology integration has a staff developer (not working with children), data base manager (not working with children); has hired consultants to help with her work (not working with children) and now a coordinator of technology who will not be working with children. Does anyone discern a troublesome pattern?
For almost thirty years I have watched as the South Mountain and Wyoming communities have made one sacrifice after another. It is time that the current board rectifies this. It is time that all students are treated equally in the Millburn Township School District.
Julia M. Cino