An open letter to the citizens of Keene and the Keene school board:

I write today in support of the teachers of SAU 29 and the Keene Education Association, who currently work without a contract. As any taxpayer in the community realizes, rates are high and finances at a premium — but to devalue those who dedicate their lives educating our children in so many ways beyond mere classroom learning seems irresponsible to the point of insult.

In just the past week, my own son has benefited from the extra time these tireless educators spend with our kids; from supervising his choral appearances, organizing concert performances, preparing for theater presentations, among many other extra-curricular activities, these men and women essentially volunteer their time and energy in an effort to intellectually and morally support our students — two such instructors even wrote detailed recommendations for my son’s college applications — all as their financial futures remain perilously suspended.

In a time when cultures are increasingly judged by what their citizens value (these days it seems to be animus at differing views or time spent staring fixatedly at our cellphones) perhaps we could initiate evidence of valuing education and those who engender a passion for knowledge in those entrusted with our future.

I encourage you to negotiate a fair and equitable contract with the Keene Education Association expeditiously. I’m certain many other community members like myself thank you for your service as a school board member — I ask you now to support one of the most vital aspects of our educational institution.

Sincerely,

THOMAS COOK

10 Highland Ave.

Keene