Sent to Members of the City Council of Trenton via email:

Dear Members of the Trenton City Council,

I wish to express my extreme concern and sadness over the planned closure of Stokes Early Childhood Center and the laying off of paraprofessionals, teachers and support staff. While I realize the reality of budgets and finances, it is extremely distressing that you are allowing these cuts to both the city’s most vulnerable children and some of the city’s most dedicated, caring professionals.

As a seasoned Early Childhood educator, I can assure you that some of the most talented people in the profession of education are those working in the field of special needs and young children. The City of Trenton should be the most loyal, caring and protective of special needs children and the families and workers who support them versus closing their schools and cutting their jobs.

While Trenton has continued budget woes from years of mishandled funds and continued investment in charter schools that have no accountability and drain funding from schools like Stokes Early Childhood Center, it is irresponsible to continue on the course you are setting for the education of the youth in Trenton. I implore you to find a way to keep this treasured school alive.

By closing Stokes Early Childhood Center, you are acting against virtually all educational research, as well as the national movement to invest in the youngest children.

There are both valid and invalid reasons why Trenton has such a poor reputation locally and nationally. I was among the first Kindergarten classes at the then newly build Joyce Kilmer Elementary School. I treasure my years as a young student in Trenton and am always saddened by the reputation Trenton has created and maintained for itself over the years. That reputation is in your hands as leaders of the community.

I sincerely hope you consider your youngest residents and the talented professionals who support them as worthy of your time, careful consideration and most importantly, investment.

Thank you for your kind attention,

Heidi Echternacht

If you’d like to email the City Council of Trenton and try to help save this school, click here for their contact information.

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