Testimony asks for three commitments

Thank you for your service and thank you for your request to hear from the community.
My name is Shari Entenmann and I’m here as a parent of 3 young children entrusting you with their school experience.
As you move forward with the budget process there are three things I’d like you to commit to:

1. Our downtown schools need to be vital, they are the heart of our city and why many of us moved here – myself included. Let’s not unravel what’s been built and what we can accomplish in the future. We want our schools to be vibrant and attractive so others choose to live here like I did.
2. Consider the details carefully – often it’s the details that matter:

a. What about the TEP program. My understanding from parents directly involved in bringing TEP to Lapham that part of what’s needed to make the program a success is the SAGE class sizes.

• Will Lapham still have TEP
• If TEP then SAGE, if SAGE is there room to consolidate?
• If not TEP, where will it go, back to Emerson – but wasn’t there concern about it being too much for one school?
• When making these decisions you have to consider this vulnerable population in this TEP program.

b. What about the alternatives program. Steve Hartley gave a very inspiring presentation last year at Marquette (when we were going through this exercise) and it was clear to me and others that the keystone to the success of the program is separating the kids from their age-group peers. Are you sure the proposal to move the program to Sherman has considered this, I didn’t see that consideration in the presentation to the board a few weeks ago.
c. Is the proposed larger middle school too big? I hear the comparison to Hamilton as a reference that it’s not. However, I don’t believe that’s an appropriate comparison. This is a very different population and I’ve heard concern from many teachers, and educators that’s it’s too big for this population, particularly with our resource restrictions.

3. An open process that allows all things to be discussed and considered with community involvement. We’ve heard several times that there’s nothing else to cut but things that effect the classroom and so everything must be on the table, even this drastic change that saves less than 700,000. However in all the discussion that’s lead to this point I haven’t heard any discussion on the following:

a. I’ve heard there may be more funds coming in the next few months – is this the time to propose such drastic changes – especially when these changes aren’t part of an overall plan but are part of the annual ad hoc widdling away process.
b. Extra-curriculars
c. Sports

Please consider what I’ve said. I believe it’s necessary to be successful because we live in a passionate community that strongly supports public education. Everyone needs to be involved.
Very sincerely, again, thank you for your service.
Shari Entemann