I am writing to plead with Superintendent Peter Blake to reconsider the current budget cuts to the Alternative Education Program at BOCES. The children who rely on the program cannot afford to have their education gambled with at the tune of $1.3 million. Please consider making incremental changes! These students need that attention more and value the relationships with their instructors. The BOCES Alternative Education Program provides more than a class room. It gives the students confidence to learn, and a safe place to do so.
I personally know several people who have been successful and graduated through the program. One person saying that he “loved the program”...the teachers were “patient and understanding”; he also went on to say “I didn’t feel judged for being there or looked down on.” Most the former graduates of the BOCES program are now parents themselves, who have chosen to stay in Rome and raise their own children. College may not have been a part of their path however, they are today ALL considered ESSENTIAL WORKERS. Veterans, civil servants, skilled laborers and correction officers. Some patrol our streets, build homes, and most importantly they are happy to do so.
These children right now need our help and guidance. The effectiveness of their learning should not be measured by the consequence of budget cuts. Please do not take from the already vulnerable to “bridge the gap.” They are not just a number, they are our future and we need to make decisions on their behalf delicately with their best interest at heart.
— Danielle Henderson, Rome