Tell board to keep art teacher

To the editor:

It has come to my attention that the school board for Saranac Lake Central School District is considering slashing the position of high school art teacher upon Valerie Patterson’s retirement this June. Many of my friends and, by extension, their friends are bemoaning this cut. The act is not a done deal. The board is meeting this coming Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. One must call or email the clerk for an appointment to speak for the need to keep this position.

Many of my friends here are seriously involved in the arts in Saranac Lake and beyond. It is time for us to let the school board understand the value of the arts component in our school. This cut appears to be driven by dollars vs. the needs of students. If it were not mandated by the state, school boards would also cut other needed positions in other teacher-student assisted areas such as mental health, etc.

Art has no advocates but the people who VOTED for the members of the school board.

We need to be heard and avert cutting this position. The reasoning is not superficial. Students who are involved in the arts are problem solvers. They learn how to work with others creatively toward common goals. Some children and young adults have different ways which they learn and the support coming from art class allows them to become very productive, creative members of society.

That being said, there are plenty of good reasons why the school board should not succumb to lazy budgeting and instead be thoughtful, creative representatives of the students the board wishes to become contributing members of the community.

Keep the arts thriving in our schools in our “Decidedly Different” Saranac Lake.

Let our board know.

As the clerk for the Board of Education, Mr. Finn receives all correspondence intended for distribution to all Board of Education members.

Here are the emails to contact all of the board members and the clerk:

¯ Fred Finn,

¯ Rick Retrosi, president,

¯ Jeremy Evans, vice president,

¯ Clyde Baker,

¯ Nancy A. Bernstein,

¯ Jeffrey Branch,

¯ Mike McCreadie,

¯ Aurora E. White,


Diane E. Leifheit

Point of View Studio