I am a resident of River Forest who has been employed by District 90 as a speech and language pathologist since 1989. I am greatly concerned about program cuts that will be necessary should the referendum fail. Education that takes place outside of the classroom (eg. art, music, physical education, library) is vital. I personally witness the difference that these classes make. For students with special talents in these areas, it is important to have a professional nurturing these gifts. Sometimes, these are the very students who may struggle in the classroom and benefit from the self-confidence that these “specials” provide. Furthermore, these classes provide an experience and exposure that is invaluable for all students.

I am also concerned about the increase in class sizes that a failed referendum would mean. Research indicates that class size is a critical element impacting student achievement in the primary grades. Teachers with a class of 20 students are far more able to attend to individual student needs than those with 35 students. Individual attention is what leads to successful learning.

My husband I have two grown children. Citizens who voted yes for referendums in the past made it possible for our children to learn in appropriately-sized classes and to experience the benefits that the arts, physical education, and libraries bestow upon students. Even in rural Indiana, where I went to elementary and high school, we were provided with much more than a “skeleton” of an education. Community members dug deep in their pockets to provide libraries, music, art and physical education classes for all children. Members of the community felt that it was their duty as a citizen to pay for a quality education for the next generation.

Lastly, consider property values. It’s predominantly young families who move to River Forest because of the excellent reputation of the schools. Do you think that property values will continue to rise if we are forced to offer a bare-bones education?

Cheryl Harding

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