Fifty-one percent of Bristol Township’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch. When schools were first measured under the No Child Left Behind act, the district scored near the bottom of state rankings. Through smaller class sizes and more intense attention given to lagging students, it is now near the middle. “The knock on our schools was you couldn’t get a good education here,” James Moore, the principal at Truman High, told me one recent afternoon. “Nobody can say that anymore.”
It is that progress, though, that is threatened. In a preliminary budget passed by the school board, as many as 28 of the 125 teachers at Truman High could lose their jobs. Double periods for struggling math and English students — credited for the district’s better test scores — would no longer be possible. Advanced Placement courses might be combined with regular honors classes. Art and music at the elementary level would be cut back.