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Notes from the Institution: A better way

When the Board of Education delayed closing an elementary school last week, I couldn’t help cheering. From the start, I’ve seen the closing as ridiculous.

I understand that the Board of Education runs on a tight budget. That’s why, whenever the board announces a new spending cut, I try to just deal with it. When they slashed the German program from the middle schools, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. When the school computers take 10 minutes to load Google, I accept that we don’t have any room in the budget for new ones. Even when my teachers complained that the board had trimmed the money for new textbooks, I stopped myself from grumbling and moved on. But when the Board of Education announced last year that the town might close my old elementary school, Veterans Park, I got angry.

Maybe everyone adores their elementary school, but I’ve always seen Veterans Park as a special place. I felt that it was mine; the teachers knew my name, the attendance ladies would smile at me, and the Writer of the Month contest let me explore writing for the first time.

Even now, when I go there to pick up my first grade brother, I see that Veterans Park still got its magic. The school has a tangible sense of care and community, the likes of which I haven’t found elsewhere. I don’t want my brother — or anyone in this town — to lose that.

I realize that the town faces a difficult task. Somehow, in the midst of random computer viruses that destroy district servers and the chaos of managing school budgets, the Board of Education needs to come up with the magic $1 million that’s been cited so often. But it’s still so frustrating to think of an entire elementary school lost to the town — especially considering the other ways our town spends money. From the clunky Smartboards in nearly all of my classrooms to the new, unnecessary library that won’t even open until after I graduate, money seems to be focused in the wrong direction. And even though the school closing has been delayed for now, the issue might pop up again next year.

I just think there has to be a better way.

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