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Extended School Day

This comment is in reference to the December 12, 2013 Needham Times article, "Override planning begins; Longer school day in Needham means $200 hike to taxpayer bill" and the January 15, 2014 article, "Needham school board trims longer school day request". I am having trouble posting to the Needham Times web site so I have posted here instead:

It seems that our town also needs to spend some time supporting a tax cap for Seniors who are on fixed incomes. The struggling elders in our community shouldn't be forced out of their homes to pay for someone else's "two Fuji [Steak House} dinners" (as laughed about in the Needham Times article).  It must also be realized that one's dinner out is another's carefully budgeted food allowance to buy staple foods to prepare their own meals.  It is time to do the right thing for the elders in our community who have paid taxes for the past 40, 50, 60+ years.

In regard to foreign languages, fee based after school programs are available to elementary students interested in learning a foreign language.  My kindergarten daughter was enrolled in an after school Spanish class at a cost less than the above mentioned dinner.

In regard to crossing guards, if it is the dismissal TIME that is being proposed for extension, why then would MORE crossings guards be needed to cross the same number of children, just at a later time?

On the same token; I wholeheartedly support beneficial new programs, but if 14 (now 10.8) hires are being proposed for the new programs, why then would taxpayer's also be expected to pay for an across the board salary hike for teachers whose curriculum remains unchanged.

In regard to the middle school, the time and cost involved in extending the day doesn't seem quite worth it when the end result is adding a mere ten minutes to the school day.  I have not read the proposal yet but I am curious as to  what additional programs can be added in 10 minutes.  If this time is  being allotted as the "one on one time" outside of class mentioned in the article, our tax money would be better utilized in seeking out and recognizing the teachers who are already dedicating this time to students but who are not being compensated for their efforts.   These are  the teachers who make a difference because they don't teach according to a clock, their salary or a steadfast curriculum; they teach in accordance with their student's needs.  Middle school students don't necessarily need more time added to their day; but rather more attention devoted to their "well being" as they meander through the sometimes difficult pathways of adolescents.  Another topic for another time . . .

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