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Letter: Mascoma Renovation Will Attract Better Teachers

To the Editor:

I’d like to address some of the objections to the Mascoma High School renovation proposal:

“We don’t need the additional space because enrollment is falling.” Much of the new space would be for updated science rooms; classrooms for teachers who have none; and classes such as music that operate in noisy, nonfunctional areas. These upgrades are sorely needed whether enrollment rises or not. And it is certain that falling enrollment is due not just to demographics, but to young families moving from the district. We need to attract and keep families who will be involved in the schools as well as in town affairs, or we will have dying communities.

“The auditorium is a luxury.” Teacher and student time is wasted by the conflicts in sharing the current gym/auditorium between sports events and music and theater performances. Think the performing and visual arts are not important? The performing arts provide similar learning benefits to sports: teamwork, good sportsmanship, confidence in performing publicly — all valuable for future endeavors. And the visual arts foster numerous skills sought by employers: creativity, inventiveness, problem-solving, focus and dedication, to name a few.

“We can’t afford it.” When will we break the cycle? How can we not afford better education, which leads to better jobs and more people able to pay their taxes? That’s what we should be working toward, so we are not constantly trying to fill our community needs on the backs of those who are struggling but are creating citizens who can attain good jobs and contribute to their towns. The renovation won’t by itself magically create better education, but it will attract better teachers and families passionate about their children’s education, and those are important factors in educational achievement. I urge Mascoma School District voters to vote “Yes” on Article 4 on Tuesday.

Becky Powell