To the editor:
Due to the continued inaccuracies of information published by the Little Compton Taxpayers Association, the Little Compton Teachers Association is compelled to correct statements perpetuated in the most recent Taxpayers Association newsletter.
According to the Taxpayers newsletter of May 14, 2014, “In the early 1980’s, before the 1990 addition to the old building was put on, there were over 500 students in the school.” This is simply not true. The student population at Wilbur & McMahon in 1980-1981 was 355, in 1981-1982 it was 322, 1988-1989 it was 323 and the decade closed in 1989-1990 with 325 students attending the school.
The Taxpayers Association’s table comparing average class size is also in error. Barrington does not have an average of 27 students in their kindergarten classes. Their kindergarten class size average is 13.5 (the 27 represents two half-day classes). This inaccuracy has been pointed out to them on several occasions, and yet the Taxpayers Association continues to publish this inaccurate information. If the table were corrected it would reveal the average kindergarten class size in Barrington as 13.5, Jamestown at 15, and New Shoreham at 7. These are all within the same range of Little Compton. Of interest, the Little Compton School Committee often takes great pride in comparing Wilbur and McMahon’s high test scores to these other high scoring communities.
The Wilbur and McMahon teacher count is declining. By eliminating the computer technology program, a teacher position has been eliminated and a teacher will be let go. This elimination, along with one teacher retirement this year, reduces the teacher count by two. In addition, the band position is a part time position that is not reflected as such in the total teacher count. At this time, only nine of the 15 teachers laid off in February have been recalled. Currently, the student population is 257. It was stated at the last School Committee meeting that 27 kindergarten registration forms have been dispensed so far, indicating a larger than anticipated incoming kindergarten class. If you apply this data to the “Wilbur & McMahon Student Population vs. Teacher Population” graph the Taxpayers Association provided, it is obvious that the gap is closing.
The Little Compton Teachers Association, because of its knowledge of these errors and the resulting consequences for the students in Little Compton, is duty bound to inform the public of the true facts.
Jean S. Dunn
Prtesident, Little Compton Teachers Association