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Letter: Closing Mattison Will Split Children from Friends

Ambler resident asks the Wissahickon School Board to reconsider the true costs of closing Mattison Avenue Elementary School

Dear School board members;

I volunteered at Mattison today, with a group of other volunteers we sit in the hallway and help with reading. I was stopped by a group of second graders who asked me "Is the vote to close our school today?". If you think that for one second this school and student body are not affected - or aware of what has happened since June 11th you're terribly mistaken. I wanted to cry.

I was at the very other end of the district at Stony Creek this Saturday. It is a very large and well kept school. Since I live on Mattison Ave - the same street as the school and am two blocks away from the beginning of Upper Dublin School district - I consider MAES at the very opposite end of the district. To get to Stony I had to pass 2 schools within less than a mile of each other. 1 school received the worst rating of the elementary schools in the district in the facilities report. I have to wonder exactly what is really being considered in the recommendation to close Mattison?

There is no proof that closing Mattison and busing the children out of their supportive community will help them academically of socially or in any way. There is no plan to help the children in need from Mattison wherever they go to school. There is no one school  that can accommodate all of these children. So the plan is that these children - at risk and otherwise - will be split from their friends, their supportive community and bused someplace else - not even as a group - they will need to be split into multiple schools. There is no proof that closing this school will help these children succeed - on the contrary the studies all show that these at risk kids are better served by a small school. Not to mention the loss of the Head Start program.

The Philadelphia school superintendent announced today that that district is going to make early education a priority despite billions of dollars in budget cuts. I won't re-hash anything else, you know the story.

I don't know how else to beg you to please do the right thing, to please listen to the community, your peers, and to the law makers who represent us, please do not vote to close Mattison Avenue Elementary school on January 14th.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Wahl Kunzier

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