LETTER: Shocked by Proposal to Eliminate K-2 Foreign Language at Julian Curtiss School

Submitted by Rebecca Cooper, Julian Curtiss School PTA Chair and David Levine, Assistant Julian Curtiss School PTA Treasurer

Dear Greenwich Community,

We received shocking news in recent days that there is a proposed plan to ELIMINATE K-2 foreign language from the Julian Curtiss School curriculum.

As a reminder, Julian Curtiss School is a magnet school known as the “Julian Curtiss School for foreign languages”. 29% of its enrollment are magnet students specifically interested in foreign language education and 60 countries are represented in its student body, of which 44% qualify for subsidized lunches.

Such a significant program cut to the core curriculum of the school is shocking and appalling.

Why is this happening? Budget debates are underway between the BET and BOE which suggest some cuts to the operating budget. However, eliminating this program does almost nothing to address the overall budget. The K-2 foreign language program takes 1/3 of one teacher’s time – a savings of roughly $30,000.

To put this in context, the overall budget of the BOE is over $190,000,000 even after the proposed $3 Million+ of budget cuts. In other words, the BOE is proposing to cut one of the core programs of one of its schools with nearly ZERO material benefit to the budget.

We urge the Board of Education and the Community to reject this reckless decision.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Julian Curtiss is a model for diversity and inclusivity in the District.
  • A Magnet School is predicated on a specific mission; in our case, language. Language, cultural diversity and subsequent inclusivity is what brings the JC community together.
  • There are countless studies as to the cognitive and neurological benefits of learning a second language early. At JC, it helps to promote awareness, acceptance and build the global citizenship that we are known for in the community.
  • This small cut (of which amounts to about $30,000 annually is a mere drop in the $3 million dollars of proposed cuts Dr. Jones and the Board of Education have agreed upon for 2024-25 out of the $190MM budget) How can anyone justify this?
  • 29% of our enrollment are Magnet families, specifically seeking out our unique early language program.

Thank you for your attention to this crucial matter. We hope to see you at the Board of Education meeting THIS THURSDAY at 7:00 PM at Central Middle School.

With Eagle Pride,

JCPTA Executive Board Members: Rebecca Cooper (Co-President) and David A. Levine (Assistant Treasurer and Member-Elect RTM District 1)