As a single parent of a five year old son, who is currently on a non-portable daycare subsidy for before, lunch and after school care at the YWCA I feel the need to publicly address this 'politically motivated' attempt by the school board to close St.Mary's Elementary School. Going against 7 of the 11 recommendations that were made by the consultants they hired, the school board recommended that our school be put up for review and immediate closure. If money is an issue then I wonder why the consultants were brought in, paid and then their recommendations ignored. Money well spent?

My son is one of the 'out of area' students that seems to pose a problem for the school board and the fact that I 'chose' St.Mary's appears to be an issue. The reason I chose this school is because I had to remove my son from the only daycare ' in area' that would provide the childcare I needed due to bullying and find new childcare that fit our needs. The YWCA provides a safe and nurturing environment for my son while not in school.

The fact that I work only 3 minutes from St. Mary's was a huge consideration for me, I feel that I am part of the 'community' even though I do not live in the area. I take great comfort being close to his school and could get there on a moments notice. It is a small school and I do not ascribe to the belief that bigger is better. The school population is diverse and our children do not get lost in the shuffle. They are comfortable and this leads to a better learning environment in my opinion. Closing St.Mary's and moving them to a larger school; that will be no better prepared to handle the additional students; is not solving the lack of specialty space outlined in the Impact Assessment Report put out by the School Board.

Why should anyone else care about this? Be aware, this could be your small school next and it could come on a moments notice…parents, children, community members and consultants wishes and opinions ignored. Don't allow this bullying of the small school model to continue…KEEP ST.MARY'S ELEMENTARY OPEN!!!!

By Jeni Rodriguez

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