To the Editor:
After reading many letters and articles on the subject of the Canton-Potsdam school merger, I feel compelled to submit a comment.
Regardless of what happens with this merger proposal, this is a topic which should be raised.
After reading most of the 195-page merger study, I realized that the main emphasis of the merger focuses on post-grad course work. The study states even though most non-mandated courses have been eliminated (page 177), nine AP classes and over a dozen college classes are still offered in both districts. This seems to be the only un-mandated program that is expanding, as opposed to being cut.
Historically, advanced and AP courses replace a student’s college freshman year introductory classes. These courses are waived by the university, and save the family thousands of dollars. While I realize that these programs look impressive on a high school transcript, taxpayers are not required to fund them. In providing these classes through public schools, we are all paying for a portion of higher education for superior and quite often affluent students.
When a senior wishes to attend a college class, their family should be required to pay the district individually. If the school decides to offer AP studies, a registration fee should apply, and contain a financial aid package if needed. Perhaps some of these students could graduate in their junior year, saving the district thousands of dollars. The additional revenue saved or gained could be used for extracurricular programs, and possible reinstatement of courses that benefit all students, like business, driver’s education and a slew of elementary programs.
It is troubling that advanced distinction courses are not listed as a separate line item in our district budget, and that the merger study doesn’t tell us how much each district spends on these.
We need courses available in many disciplines for all ages if we want well-rounded students. Art, music and physical education are just as important as math, science and English, but as taxpayers, we should not have to subsidize college level courses for the minority. I hope others will discuss or debate this issue.