In this March 31, 2017, file photo, students board a school bus after class at Columbus Elementary School in Columbus, New Mexico. Credit: Rodrigo Abd / AP

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

The needs and challenges of pre-K-12 education have grown exponentially in recent years. Some challenges like increased stress, bullying, safety training and larger classrooms due to budget cuts existed before the pandemic. The pandemic has exacerbated other concerns, like children’s mental health, social and emotional progress, absenteeism, students not meeting their learning outcomes and teachers fleeing the profession.

Our children need more support, not less. The problem is that well-intentioned superintendents and school boards face rising facilities and transportation costs. This spring, school boards across the state are making hard decisions with no easy answer. They want to limit the impact of increased taxes on their residents, and with good reason. We all feel the effect of higher grocery and fuel costs.

Unfortunately, some choices will have longer-lasting effects on children and the teachers who support their learning and emotional needs. Currently, one school is recommending eliminating a vital position, despite data and pleas by teachers and parents. The move does not make sense on paper or in practice. Parents and teachers rely on this person to communicate concerns, be in places where she can witness and work through problems before they escalate, and strategize solutions to complicated issues. With safety, learning, and mental health on the line, the school should be discussing how to ensure this role is around for the next 15 years.

Jennifer Jefferson