2007-08-24 / Letters

Shame On Dayton Board Members

Dear Editor,

Dayton has had an early childhood program for as long as I can remember and I've lived here for over 30 years.

When Infinity Early Learning Center opened its doors in 2004, I was very relieved, because it was an affordable choice for my family. To my relief it also exceeded any expectations my husband and I had for a safe, nurturing and quality educational environment, so much so that when our son Brendan graduated this past June, he was accepted into the ASTRE Program for Gifted and Talented Children along with every other child that has graduated from our little Dayton school that took the test.

I have been very proud and grateful that Dayton had such vision to provide such a quality school for my family to enjoy over the past three years. There is no place else we could have gone where we would have had such a qualified teacher as Charlyene Blunt.

The fact that this board is considering getting rid of a program with a teacher like Blunt, who is Montessoritrained with a Master's degree, certified in special education with over 20 years experience, goes way beyond a bad business decision that I do not understand. Therefore, I can only conclude that this is either personally, or racially, motivated.

That is why it pains me so much to hear of the ill-conceived decision the board has made to terminate this much-needed program for our Dayton families and for our community at large. Those of you who voted to eliminate this affordable, top-quality "Montessori-like" school at Dayton were able to do so because you are not parents with young children struggling with the decision of where to send your kids in the year 2007. Your decision certainly is not based on anything that remotely has to do with a fair and balanced look at what would be best for our Dayton families and our community.

Like most of the other irresponsible, close-minded, subjective decisions some of you make, none of you have to face the impact of this decision first hand. It's more than just you don't care about how this affects Dayton families struggling where to send their kids to school; it goes deeper than you want the space for something else (otherwise you would not have voted to raise the school's rent one week and then voted for the school to vacate the premises the next

week).

I do not know how you think you can get away with offering the owner of the gym to pay a market rate rent and allow her to run her business open to the public any way she wants and then not offer the owner of our school, the same opportunity to pay a market rate rent and allow her to run her business open to the public any way she wants. Why did you treat the business owner differently from the other? Why instead did you ask Blunt to vacate the premises just three weeks before school is scheduled to begin? There is nowhere for our children to go now at this late date.

Shame on those of you who are officers of this corporation that exposed Dayton to lawsuits because of your ignorant, racial, fear-mongering comments and decisions about not wanting a Universal Pre-K program because as board member Marilyn Kaufman repeatedly states, "We don't live in the projects." If you're saying "we don't live in the projects" to mean anything other than "caring parents of young children looking to find a safe, nurturing and quality educational environment," then what are you referring to if it's not racial?

Shame on all of you who voted to get rid of Infinity Early Learning Center, this jewel in our crown, the best thing that Dayton has ever done for its shareholders and their families. I can only hope you will come to your senses and change your decision.

RENEE MACLEOD

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