Education is endangered

To the editor:

Back in April, during the school budget discussions, I wrote a letter to the editor in support of maintaining funding levels for the Saranac Lake Central School District. In the time between that letter and this, the school budget has passed, budget cuts will be implemented, and students are getting ready for summer break. Though it may seem like the discussions and the decisions are over and done with, I urge community members to keep educating themselves about the serious trouble New York state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment is continuing to create for school districts all over the state, ours included.

I also urge community members to notice that our school system is a pillar of our truly remarkable small community. With more and more cracks in the pillar, the entire community suffers, including residents who do not even have children in the district.

I myself do not have children in the district, but I home-school my kids. Some may think it’s incompatible that I home-school and yet I choose to stand up for public education, but I believe in diversity of choice in everything – especially in education!

While I feel fortunate to have the choice to home-school, I see tremendous good happening every day in Saranac Lake schools. Perhaps it is because we’re a small community, but our teachers care deeply for their students, they innovate in the classroom, and they find a way to keep the fun in learning, even as the national push for a one-size-fits-all curriculum becomes a bigger burden. As home-schoolers, we have been welcomed to participate in special programs at the school, and most of our friends and neighbors are connected with the district in some way.

Our school system is a vital organ for us all, and this policy of “death by a thousand cuts” at the state level, which directly affects our kids at the local level, causes both students and the larger community to have fewer choices and fewer chances for success.

Sunita Halasz

Saranac Lake