Featured Letter: An eight-period day is the wrong move

To the editor:

I just returned from out of town and was dismayed to learn that the Riverhead High School “forum” held on March 12, 2015, regarding the decision to reduce the academic day from nine to eight periods was little more than an empty gesture on the part of the administration. A word of caution to the administration: Do not be lulled by the lower-than-expected turnout. Some of us were out of town, while many others (myself included) must work two to three jobs to support our families and pay huge tax bills. 

While I have always been a supporter of Riverhead schools, misguided decisions such as this may cause me to re-evaluate this support in the future, as will many others so angered by the negative impacts the eight-period day is having on our children in the district’s apparent “race to the bottom” pursuit of accommodating the lowest common denominator.

Administration knows perfectly well that the decision to go to a nine-period day back in 2006 was done to provide students flexibility in their schedules to take important electives and advanced classes, thereby providing these students many opportunities to distinguish themselves in a highly competitive college admissions process and have a lunch period break, should they so desire. Administration also knows that an additional 180 full periods of instruction offered by a nine-period day would continue to have a far more positive educational impact than six minutes of additional instruction time for each of the eight periods.

As the administration knows, much of our tax bills go to support the school budget, and much of that budget is occupied by teaching staff and administrative salaries. Perhaps this administration needs a reminder that we parents and the rest of the taxpayers do the heavy lifting when it comes to financing the district. They are accountable to us, and we vote long after our children graduate.

Do not underestimate the anger generated by this decision, or the power of the pen, social media and those who know how to wield them.

John Deschamps, Aquebogue