This school board may object to racial equity audit, but it still needs to give real consideration to town pool

To the editor:

It was not long ago that the then-school board recognized that students coming from Hutchinson Elementary School did not always feel welcome in the middle school and high school. The board understood that there was a pronounced racial component to the problem. Some consideration was even given to the so-called Princeton Plan, which would have divided the four Pelham elementary schools by grade (i.e. all third graders would be in one building). This would require busing. Such a drastic remedy was not and is not acceptable to Pelham. A more rational approach was to hire experts to investigate the problem. This resulted in the school district’s racial equity audit, which concluded: “Currently, Pelham lacks a consistent commitment to fostering an equitable and racially just school environment.” That school board undertook to act.

The present school board may have philosophical objections to the equity audit. But the problem is real. Ignoring it will not make it go away. We, the undersigned, support the proposal to have an outdoor pool paid for by users at Franklin Field. The purpose of the pool would be to bring all Pelhamites, especially children, to the center of town, where they can feel that they belong. It would put out the welcome mat across the street from the middle school and tell all kids that this is your neighborhood. The town pool, which we understand to be supported by the town supervisor and the town recreation commissioner, is not a perfect solution to the problem identified in the equity audit. But it is an emphatic statement that the school district and the town are aware of the problem and are willing to address it in an unequivocal and constructive, way.

The present board of education rejected the pool proposal on two basis: Such use of Franklin Field would not serve an educational purpose, and a pool complex taking up less than 15% of Franklin Field would interfere with any emergency evacuation of the middle school. A substantial proposal was made in response to a very real issue and was met with an inadequate answer with no alternative solution.

Joan Cornell

622 Pelhamdale Ave.

along with:

Michael Treanor

Ann Rende

Solange Hansen

Maryanne Joyce