Letter: Pentucket district has long been underfunded | News

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To the editor:

In response to Joe D’Amore’s editorial “Vote ‘no’ on Pentucket school district overrides” published on Wednesday, March 30, 2022:

I have taught in the Pentucket district for 19 years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. I have been a resident and parent here for 14. I too wish my Merrimac taxes weren’t as high as they are; no one wants to pay more. But overrides are necessary. Why? Because I want my first grader to have a quality education, with reasonable class sizes, reasonable infrastructure, reasonable support and offerings, and reasonable teacher to student ratios.

Mr. D’Amore misses the point of the information Dr. Bartholomew has put forward to the public so far. It is not that we are in competition with neighboring communities. The comparison was to make a deeper, far more fundamental, point that Mr. D’Amore should be well aware of: Pentucket Regional School District has been underfunded for a multitude of years; at least the entire time I have been employed here.

As a result, Pentucket students are at a disadvantage. Teachers retire and are not replaced. This is slated to occur this coming year with an override passing. Positions are cut nearly every year, and have been my entire career. Where we once had special education teachers for each middle school team, we now have one per grade level. Custodial staff has been cut in half. Where we once had our own music teacher and art teacher at the middle school, we now share staff with the high school. Some staff teach in our elementary school and in the middle and in the high school. We have to make educational / learning choices, as well as scheduling choices, that are not necessarily in the best interest of our children’s education, because we are short staffed. We are short staffed because we have been, and continue to be, woefully underfunded.

GERALD M. KALAYJIAN JR.

Merrimac

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