Letter: Cutting art teachers is a disgrace to Ridgefield

To the Editor:

In the proposed 2018-19 school budget, there is a proposed cut to all of our elementary art teachers salaries by 20%.

As a mother of a third grader at Scotland, I am outraged, appalled, and deeply concerned. To me, reducing our art teachers by 20% is the same as reducing our children’s experience in a full curriculum, where the development of self expression, individualism, creativity, and confidence is encouraged. There is factual evidence supporting the importance of art in a child’s development. To reduce our art teachers, and use the excuse that this 20% is simply taken from their prep time, is ridiculous.

What do our art teachers do with their “prep” time? They plan, they prepare materials for next classes, they hang art in the school, so their students can feel pride in their work and their school, which should always feel like their “second home.”

I can only speak on what I have seen Mrs. Jen Zeyer, our art teacher at SES, do with her few time gaps between classes. She meets with parents, makes calls to parents who cannot get into school, plans her lessons, her yearly art show, and special projects.

She is not idle, she does not have free, unused time. Every gap is utilized. She is focused on  lessons, classes, and most importantly, she is focused on our kids.

This is a teacher I entrust my child to. I give her my child every school day — to help shape my child’s mind, to show my daughter how to create, and give her the space to create. I trust Mrs. Zeyer to foster a love, respect, and awareness for the arts.

I see Mrs. Zeyer at 110%. Not 80%.

This is yet another example of budget cuts directed at the soul of our schools.

I feel this is a true disgrace to Ridgefield.

Patty Labozzo

Ridgefield, Feb. 1