To the Editor,
As president of the Tanglewood Elementary School PTA, I have the unique opportunity to witness the wonderful job our faculty and staff does in educating our children. Unfortunately, the school board and public school administration are hindering our ability to provide an adequate educational environment.
Tanglewood presently has four kindergarten classes with an average class size of 25 students. This average exceeds the state’s limit of an average of 21 students per class. Additionally, due to the cuts in teacher assistants, the kindergarten teachers only have assistants with them six hours a day.
Early this fall, Tanglewood was given approval to add an additional kindergarten classroom and hire a new teacher. Tanglewood is simply out of space for such a classroom as even the music room has already been converted to a third-grade classroom. After much negotiation with the Board of Education, we were told that a mobile unit was on the way. Surveys were done, trees cleared, and a foundation poured, but the state Department of Public Instruction refused to approve the particular mobile unit. Thousands of dollars were wasted and we are now in mid-December with almost half the school year over and no progress for our kindergarteners and their teachers. The Board of Education does not have a solution to bring us into compliance.
The growth in Tanglewood’s student body is due largely to the fact that the school board has approved a large number of out-of-district transfers. Currently, more than 20 percent of our students live outside of the Tanglewood district. Even in the face of our overcrowding, the school board at its meeting on Dec. 13 approved additional transfers to Tanglewood, overriding our principal’s recommendation.
Even with the need for two more classrooms this year, our school’s budget from the county was cut by several thousand dollars. As the only elementary school in Robeson County that does not receive federal Title I funding, Tanglewood’s budget is already tens of thousands of dollars less than other elementary schools in this county.
It is time for administrators and the Board of Education to step up to the plate and do what is right for the students of Tanglewood Elementary as it is the students who are suffering from their political plays.
Tanglewood Elementary PTA