Congratulations to Dracut Superintendent of Schools Steven Stone on his contract extension and raise. I hope he succeeds in improving the Dracut school system and getting the town to see its value.
It's also good to hear of the student successes. However, Mr. Stone needs to point out that these successes are in spite of the extremely poor funding the schools receive from the town (still among the lowest per student funding in the state,)
Mr. Stone, there is no perception problem for the schools. We know that the students are still succeeding, and that the teachers and staff work hard to make that happen.
What the schools have is a funding problem. And that problem hasn't budged. Those who think the schools are already adequately funded now have more proof -- your video. (By the way, my daughter worked on a video like that two or three years ago; it isn't that same video, is it? Because that video wouldn't represent the current state of the schools.)
The message has to say that we are succeeding, but it won't hold out for long. Does the video say how many AP classes were cancelled and how many students didn't get to take them because of the reduction?
Does it show how the fine-arts program has shrunk because its budget was decimated? That parents pay fees for music, drama and sports, but that it didn't keep the strong academic classes from being cancelled anyway? Does it say how many parents moved, or sent their kids to other schools?
I ask Mr. Stone not to sugarcoat the truth, and let the town see that the schools aren't thriving and that they won't get better if the funding doesn't increase. And I ask the School Committee and the selectmen to step up and take care of the schools like they promised they would when the override was defeated.
Don't let the problem disappear, just because some people don't want to see it.
Editor's note: The writer is the parent of two recent Dracut High Schools grads and one current Greater Lowell Technical High School student.