Bo-Jo worth the costs

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 11:04 p.m.

Many of us take strong exception to your characterization of Sumter County's spending $200 on BoBo-Jo the Clown as "questionable" ("Squandering school rewards," April 27).

Jo studied speech pathology under Dr. Van Riper (some call him the father of speech pathology) and received a master's degree in that specialization from Florida State University. She has worked in that field in public school systems in Lee, Bay and San Diego counties.

She moved to Gainesville in 1981 and formed a business specializing in the needs of children, and we estimate that over 10,000 children have seen her shows. Her Library show is specifically targeted to improving reading skills and making libraries enticing. This specialized show is performed in over a dozen locations (and nearly that many counties) a year.

As a Littlewood Elementary graduate in the 1960s, I remember magic shows in the school auditorium as a way of broadening student's experiences, so there is ample precedent for this. Her show at Sumter county two years ago was an end-of-the-year reward for the student's good performance. Furthermore, it was specifically designed toward enhancing academics and making reading fun, as she has done with Alachua County school children for many years.

To suggest that $200 for a show several hours driving time away is extravagant is truly pathetic.

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