Apartment-seeker distressed school may close

To the Editor:

Last week, I was visiting your village of Altamont in an effort to find a new home for myself and my 4½-year-old daughter. I have always enjoyed driving through for the fairs and occasionally dining at the Home Front Café with a client

I chose to look in Altamont for several reasons: It is near the Heldeberg escarpment, and has charming businesses and a small-town feel, yet there is a pulse of activity.

I looked online at the statistics of Altamont, including the town websites. What I saw confirmed that we would probably enjoy living there: There are many families as well as single mothers.

As a soon-to-be divorced parent, I am looking for a community to be part of, to offer and give support for the benefit of raising healthy and happy children.  In addition, I’m looking for a good space to run my small bookkeeping business

Real estate for sale was minimal — seems as if people are staying put there, happy where they live (not so good for me, looking for housing though). The Altamont Elementary School received high marks for its staff and academic achievements all the while maintaining its strong sense of togetherness. This excited me. 

So I set out looking for housing rentals that day. I had one appointment right near the center of village, which was all I could find. I decided to walk around to get a direct feel of the place.

Across the street, I see the farmers’ market going on. Much to my dismay, I come up to a table set up with “Save Altamont Elementary” T-shirts for sale.

As I am listening to the news of the situation, questions are forming in my mind. I am told that the mayor is standing behind me.  I turn to meet Mr. [James] Gaughan, a knowledgeable Altamont board leader who also happens to be friendly and approachable. (Another reason to live in this great village).

He proceeded to inform me the best he could. Meanwhile, several parents are also discussing the matter around me. Clearly, this is having an impact on the community.  

I have lived in several small towns in my life.  There have been a couple of times when the schools have shut down or simply combined with a neighboring school.  Each time I saw that it had a long-standing negative ripple effect on everyone involved.

Thus I am saddened to hear of the current struggle Altamont is facing about its own school. I lend my support to the community at large to find a solution that allows the school to remain successful.

That success may not always be measured in high attendance, test scores, or financial statements. More importantly, it may be measured in well balanced, mindful, creative children who grow up to be the good citizens of our future. 

Mary F. Caron

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