Letter: Response to Mr. Williams

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To the Editor:

The response is appreciated, Mr. Williams. First, I'm sorry for the error regarding fundraising; it was not intentional. Second, I want to be clear that I agree that the youth center is vital to the town and community.

Additionally, I applaud that the youth center raised its rates, but I don't understand why it's "an option for families to pay more if they are able." Many in this community can pay a going rate for their children's care and the quality programming offered at the Williamstown Youth Center (WYC).

I gather that the national average for after-school care is $261 a week for one child. That figure is based on three hours a day, 15 hours per week, at an average $17.40 per hour.

According to the local school calendar, a school year constitutes 180 days of school for students. At the least, that's 2.5 hours per day for 180 days of after-school care provided by the WYC, totaling 450 hours per child. If I understand correctly, the youth center charges $900 per child for after-school care for the entire school year. Assuming that's accurate, then the youth center receives, per child, $2 per hour. If a child only attends the youth center for half a week, the rate increases to $4 per hour. Both rates are well below the national average.

This community comprises academics, lawyers, wealth managers, physicians, and other steady and well-paying positions. Yet it almost seems taboo for the WYC to be paid what it's worth by the families who can afford it. At the heart of the matter, the issue isn't that the town's taxes support the youth center but that it's only just that the youth center should first be paid by its families, adequately and appropriately, for the quality services they receive.

Pat Meyers
Williamstown, Mass.



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On a IV-II Vote, Mount Greylock Keeps Latin Program

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A divided Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Tuesday voted to restore the middle-high school's Latin program for the 2024-25 academic year and beyond.
Six members of the committee attended the special meeting called last week to decide on whether to keep Mount Greylock a two-world language school or only offer Spanish to incoming seventh-graders starting in the fall.
Steven Miller moved at the outset of Tuesday's session that the School Committee utilize more or less $66,000 from the committee's reserves to close a funding gap for fiscal year 2025 and commit to funding Latin until at least next year's seventh-graders have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement Latin, presumably in their senior year of 2029-30.
Miller was joined by Jose Constantine, Curtis Elfenbein and Ursula Maloy in voting in favor of the plan. Christina Conry and Carolyn Greene voted against Miller's motion.
Conry noted that in the school year that just ended, Mount Greylock had just 58 students enrolled in Latin across six different grade levels (an average of just fewer than 10 per grade), as opposed to 300 students studying Spanish.
Prior to this spring's announcement that the school would not offer Latin 7 (for seventh-graders) or Latin 8 in 2024-25, there were 15 students signed up for the former and just 10 for the latter.
Historically, over the last nine years, Mount Greylock's student population studying the classic language went from 103 in 2015-16 to 58 last year, with a spike of 148 in the 2018-19 academic year, according to figures the administration provided the School Committee on Tuesday.
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