Egremont School more than ‘charming experience’

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By Saturday, May 6 Letters  5 Comments

To the Editor:

George McGurn, running for Selectman in Egremont, in a recent article referring to the Egremont small schoolhouse, said he was interested in 21st century education, not a”charming experience.”  Well, the Egremont K to 1st grade school is much, much more than that.  It provides kids their first experience in a learning community, and it has been shown that kids exposed to this kind of small, nurturing environment do better when they graduate to elementary and high school.  Mr. McGurn should devote his efforts for 21st century education to the curriculum at Mt. Everett high.

On broadband, he says he is for fiber in Egremont, citing and “informal” survey that only 4 percent of the town favor the selection of Charter Communications, which depends on advanced coaxial cable from the road fiber to the house.  If he had done a real survey he would have found that a much greater percentage of the town is happy with the speeds they will get with Charter, high enough to satisfy most needs. If folks in town want or need fiber, nobody’s stopping them from getting it because Fiber Connect is already stringing up the town (at least 70 percent of the Egremont).

Charlie Flynn has been working hard and smart for years on town betterment, and we should re-elect him on Tuesday.

Ralph Noveck

South Egremont

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5 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Charles Flynn says:

    Our School District that has so enthusiastically supported over the years needs to take a pause and reevaluate itself. On Tuesday evening, after significant discussion and detailed review by our own community’s Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen the Budget for SBRSD was voted down at town meeting. Today it was also disapproved by the Town of Monterey. This vote was a vote by the town of Egremont of concern over the way the budget was developed, the budget priorities, and the total lack of concern for the children the School District is supposed to serve. Now the work really begins. But only if the District School Committee is willing to come to the table with the 5 towns and work with them. First and foremost must be the School Committee showing a willingness to reconsider their move to not fund the Egremont School this year and reopen the Monterey School.

  2. David Travis says:

    Mr. Flynn appears to hold the Southern Berkshire Regional School Committee in contempt. Astonishingly, he cites a “total lack of concern for the children of the School District.” As a long-standing member of the committee himself, Mr Flynn should show more respect for the sincere, good faith efforts of his fellow volunteers (even if he has none), and better manners. Our priorities lie, as they always have, squarely with delivering the best education to the most local students as we can muster. He should know better than anyone that there aren’t enough in-district students to fill a program in either Monterey or Egremont. There is no doubt that Monterey and Egremont have a rich history of providing outstanding early childhood education – our family moved to Monterey to attend the Monterey School the summer before it was shuttered. The reality, as we came to accept, and as Mr. Flynn knows as well as anyone, is that enrollment is dwindling and we have to make some hard choices. If the voters of Monterey and Egremont wish to keep their wonderful, historic community schools open, perhaps they should request their select boards and school committee members to propose a sensible program that doesn’t anticipate magicking 10 local toddlers out of thin air. Even 5 might do. The fiscally responsible choice is to keep the community schools in good repair, so that if new families do eventually present themselves, the facilities will be standing ready to welcome them. Egremont has taken impressive steps to maintain their rightfully-cherished schoolhouse; Monterey should get its act together and follow suit. Why the delay? But holding the school budget hostage while Egremont and Monterey deliberate about creating programming to serve such low numbers (with a majority of out-of-district students) is the most irresponsible action of all, and it’s not fair to our students or to the taxpayers of the district.

    1. Gail Garrett says:

      If the school wants to deliver the best education to its students, they will keep the Egremont school open. It was a mistake long ago to get rid of little schools for little kids. If you calculate the income, it should more than cover the teacher and aid there. Money is not the issue, but it is an issue when you create a behemoth that gets out of control. To close the school without the proper process is bad faith, exactly why you have agreements….to protect the minority interests that can be disregarded otherwise.

  3. Carl Stewart says:

    Mr. Noveck is certainly entitled to his opinion on who should prevail in tomorrow’s Selectboard election but he should not cloak his endorsement in a shroud of bad research on education. It is the overwhelming opinion of educators that schools having as few students as the one in South Egremont, do not offer an optimum learning or social environment. I challenge Mr. Noveck to produce 1 peer-reviewed study that makes this claim. He may find a few but I can produce 10 opposing studies for every one he cites in favor of his proposition.

    1. Gail Garrett says:

      Carl, then you should ask yourself why the kids coming out of the smaller school excel so…..better do your homework.

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