Board of Education proposes radical budget-crunch changes

On April 5, students and faculty gathered at Nashua High School North for a Board of Education meeting to hear proposals for budget cuts.

Among the suggestions were maximizing class sizes at all levels, going to a six-block schedule at the high schools, reducing graduation requirements by seven credits, and "specializing" the high schools by focusing one on academics and the other on trades.

Keith Richard, principal of Nashua High School South, is one of many challengers to the proposals.

"I am not a huge fan of the split," he said. "I think our vast programs of study are an integral part of the education system. I would hate to limit student opportunity."

Richard isn’t the only voice of opposition; NHSS students such as Rajvi Parikh, Suma Cherkadi and Cassidy Lavoie say they are "concerned" about the consequences the changes will bring. Larger classes are difficult to learn in and even harder for teachers to manage. Course curricula must be condensed significantly in order to conform to the six-block schedule. Students must be distributed between the academic and vocational tech high schools, which is likely to create a huge disparity in academic variety and opportunity.

Lack of class variety is another implication of the split.

"When I was in college interviews, no one cared that I had taken physics or calculus, because every student in the country has taken those courses," said South senior Samuel McIntyre. "However, they were fascinated by rarities like Woman as Hero and film studies, none of which would I have taken if I had only six credits a year."

If graduation requirements are minimized, students will no longer be offered the same level of academic enrichment in the Nashua School District. Families, dissatisfied with the opportunities available for their children, may move to another school district.

After contemplating the short- and long-term effects of the split, many feel that the BOE does not have anyone’s best interests in mind.

Tara Bush is a junior and Ankita Devasia is a freshman at Nashua High School South.