"He is an advanced kid. He is a first-grader and he is reading the Harry Potter books on his own," said D'Arcy about her son. "Since he started OPAL he looks forward to Fridays with OPAL, and I wish for that age group they had more. I don't see how those needs are going to be addressed for those kids they are in as much danger of becoming behavior problems and drop outs as the kids on the other end of the spectrum."
Sarah Cioffi, a parent and high school foreign language department head, helped sum up the concerns expressed by parents on losing OPAL.
"The bottom line is that these kids are going to get lost in the shuffle," said Cioffi.
One alternative to losing OPAL would be to provide added enrichment in the classroom with differentiated instruction. Swartz also said both current OPAL teachers, regardless if the program is cut, would help shape what to offer and pursue in classrooms with the absence of the program.
Linda Lewis, a 31-year district resident who has worked in the district for 10 years, pleaded for the district to keep the 1-2-3 Success program, which the board did decide to keep.
"I think I must advocate for what I think is the most needed and the most cost-effective programs in the district. The 1-2-3 Success program has been an important part of this district for 26 years, so it is not a new program, it is an established program," Lewis. "The board supported that program through very difficult times in the past."
One community member said they would like to have the chance for the public to vote on a budget without all the increases included currently.
"I would love the opportunity of a budget that does not vote on all the cuts being discussed tonight," said McCann.""