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The Best Path Forward Is For Everyone To Be Willing To Give A Bit

Jamestown students who have taken part in the P-TECH program in Dunkirk aren’t taking Jamestown’s decision to leave the program laying down.

Nor should they.

P-TECH students begin as freshmen and over the course of up to six-years work to earn both a Regents Diploma and an associate degree while preparing for a career in high-demand fields in advanced manufacturing. P-TECH students benefit from a project-based curriculum geared toward one of two distinct career pathways: Welding Technology or Mechanical Technology with specializations in Computer Assisted Drawing or Machine Tool Technology.

Uncertainty over potential cuts in state aid and a desire not to raise local property taxes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted Jamestown Public Schools officials to remove the 19 Jamestown students enrolled in the program in order to save money.

Students and their parents are upset, and they frankly have good reason to be upset. Dr. Bret Apthorpe, Jamestown superintendent, and the board are pursuing other options locally that could save the district money by partnering with Jamestown Community College’s Manufacturing Technology Institute. We’re sure JCC officials would be more than willing to accept local students who are showing, through their fight to remain in P-TECH, that they want to learn a trade.

We hope a compromise can be reached that assuages the concerns of students and parents and meets the school district’s aim of providing an education that taxpayers can afford. As is the case in any negotiation, neither side is likely to get everything they want. The best path forward is for everyone — both parents as well as the district and its proposed partners — to proceed with an open mind and be willing to give a little bit.

There is a solution out there if everyone comes together.

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