Catherine Roberts, a Moody School parent gave this address at Thursday's Common Council meeting.
Ok, so I’m here tonight instead of home reading with my kids helping them prepare for a
successful day tomorrow to beg you to relook at the budget and figure out how you can get Dr.
Charles the full requested budget for next year.
I have a second grader and kindergartner at Moody and another one a few years behind. We
have had a wonderful experience so far but I can assure you there is nothing extra! I don’t walk
around the school thinking look at all this waste and ways we could cut to save money. I don’t
see anything you can cut!!! In fact my second grader is in a class with 23 kids. 23 kids of all
different levels with ONE teacher working really hard to help them all succeed with focus
obviously going to the children below grade level. For kindergarten she was in a class of 16, for
first grade she had 23 but there was a full time interventionist assigned to the room along with
the teacher but now in second grade we are down to one teacher for 23 kids. She is doing well
but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how disappointed my husband and I are at how much
slower her pace of learning has gotten.
The fact that two great teachers at Moody were notified of non-renewal is just devastating and
makes me sick thinking about what next year will look like. You see my kindergartner is in a
class of 18 kids currently with 17 or 18 kids in the two other classes for kindergarten as well.
Our hope is that when he moves to first grade there will be three classes but with two teachers
already being told not to return there is a sinking feeling in my stomach knowing that this
budget will likely only support two first grade teachers leaving easily 26 kids in each class.
Other residents who are not in the schools are indicating they don’t think this is a problem and
that they were in classes with 30 kids and turned out fine. I assure you that today, in 2016, in
Middletown, 26 kids in a first grade class is completely unacceptable. The range of abilities and
challenges the kids coming into our schools face are not the same as in the past. The classroom
will include kids needing special education and behavioral issues along with kids at or above
grade level. How is one teacher supposed to be successful with that?
From the redistricting information I found that approximately 50% of the children in our
elementary schools qualify for free and reduced lunch. The way I understand it is that at best
case that is a family of 4 trying to make it here in Middletown on $44,000 a year. And for many
in the free and reduced program the situation is much worse. Unfortunately, the needs of the
children here in Middletown are only getting greater and any slight decline in the population is
completely offset by this fact.
I’m reaching out to you and everyone else in the community begging you to help us. Help us
with the money we need to educate our children but also asking you to come in and volunteer
and help with the large classes in the classroom or at lunch or on the playground. The kids need
one on one attention even if it’s just to help open a snack or make sure they don’t get hurt on
the playground and as you can see the budget doesn’t even come close to supporting that. If
you have a green thumb we are looking for someone to coordinate the moody school courtyard
garden. The father who was doing it left this year for a magnet school.
Middletown, please don’t let us down. We are the families trying to stay and raise our kids here
and want to know we have your support.
Thank you, Catherine Roberts