Letter: Ambler Council Person Asks School Board to Reconsider Closing Community School
Ambler Councilmember, Pat Strus, writes to Wissahickon School Board members to reconsider the facts about Mattison Avenue Elementary School before voting to close it.
Dear Members of the Wissahickon School Boards,
With the vote of closing Mattison Avenue School is drawing near, I am asking all members to keep an open mind and really check the facts. Don't just accept the facts because they were told to you. I know the Board trusts the Administration and feels the recommendation they put forth is the best recommendation. I do not believe this recommendation is in the best interest of the students or the community. We were given many reasons why the school should be closed, and yet we found fault in each of those reasons.
There are a few factors here I would ask you to think about.
1. This Board was elected to work for the constituents not for the Administration. You answer to us. You do not work for the school. You work for the people who elected you into that position. The Administration is doing their job with making their recommendations. But at this time your constituents believe this recommendation is not in the best interest of the children or our community. There are too many unanswered issues with this recommendation. And until the issues can be answered with certainties and all the “i’s and “t’s” can be crossed and you are 100% positive this is in the best interest of all concerned, you should not be closing this school.
2. The Head Start Program. I have heard of no guarantees to move the program. The Head Start Program is very important to a lot of our residents. Moving it and starting it in another school to improve achievement by taking a step backwards won't achieve success. Our residents could be denied the availability to use this program.
3. Our Latino community. This area needs to be improved as a district in a whole before taking the steps of closing Mattison Ave. As stated at the 2 meetings, many don't drive and walk their children to school. By being able to walk to the school they can be more involved in their children education. I'm afraid once these children are moved to another school; the parents will be lost in the daily education of their children. At Mattison Ave the parents have a direct connection to the teachers.
4. K-5 vs. K-3. I do not see how going K-5 is going to change achievement. Wouldn’t you have the same curriculum regardless if its K-5 or K-3? That won’t change. What will change, it would be a bigger building with more children. There are other ways to increase achievement other than moving them to a larger school.
5. Mattison Ave School is used by Ambler Borough for emergency shelter. We use Mattison Ave for Head Start Program, for our summer YMCA program. It isn't only our community school; the building is used for more than that.
Ambler Borough is a close knit community. Our school is a major attraction to new families. They like the idea of a walkable school. They like the idea of their children attending school with their neighbor’s children. Mattison Avenue School is a part of Ambler’s heartbeat.
If we were given strong unarguable facts to do this, I would be the first to agree in your decision. But the facts aren't strong, too many unanswered questions.
And I would like to remind you what State Representative Stephens said, “If 100% of your constituents are against this, why would you, the elected representatives, vote for it”?
Ambler Borough Council