As a taxpayer and a grandmother with elementary-age grandchildren in the Greater Johnstown School District, I feel compelled to write this letter opposing the grade-level grouping idea. I never took this plan seriously, or I would've written sooner.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've read only one other school in the state has this grouping program; nowhere have I read that grouping will save money or jobs. It will only cost money to renovate each school. I happen to think tradition is just as important as learning. Children in kindergarten through sixth-grade get to know the other children in their school and in their local neighborhood. Kindergarteners get to have sixth-grade buddies, each child is proud of the elementary school they come from, etc.
In the Feb. 8 edition of The Leader-Herald, it states the board may pass a formal resolution at the March 14 meeting to either approve or reject continuing the plan. The article sounded to me as if they've already made up their mind. I can't believe residents don't have any vote on this matter. That's wrong. I also can't believe the board of education alone has the power to decide this extremely important matter; once it's done there will be no turning back.
I have yet to speak to any teacher or parent that is for this grouping plan, but they're afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions. I haven't attended any of these grouping meetings because I don't care to learn more about something that I am so vehemently opposed to.
If I were a young couple with small children, I would never consider moving to Johnstown if I knew my children would be attending three different elementary schools and taking shuttle buses, etc. Every two or three years children will be filled with anxiety wondering what their new school and new teachers will be like and if any of their local friends will be in their classes and being separated from siblings as well.
I don't know where this grouping nonsense originated, but I do know we already have an excellent school system. Stop trying to build the perfect student and just let the children be children. If it's not broken, why try and fix it? I hope the school board really takes a long hard look before implementing this plan.