Archive for Thursday, July 15, 2010

School decisions need time

Our View Editorial

July 15, 2010

We were encouraged by several developments at Monday’s Baldwin School Board meeting as the district continues to make the most of the tough economic times that are still being faced.

The move to have third graders go to the new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center this fall instead of Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center makes financial sense. The district will get additional funding from the state based on the number of students in the new school.

That could mean as much as $60,000 more in state funding at a time when every dime counts.

It also makes sense because it won’t cause crowding at the new school since two programs slated to also move there, Parents as Teachers and the Rainbow Experience Preschool, can remain where they are located.

We were also pleased that the school board will continue to explore the ramifications of possibly closing the two rural elementary schools. There isn’t going to be a quick decision made on the controversial matter, which continues to spur discussion and draws large crowds to each school board meeting.

It is an extremely difficult situation and we don’t envy the school board members who will have to make the decision on whether to close Vinland and/or Marion Springs Elementary Schools.

Emotions are high on both sides of the issue. But it shouldn’t be emotions that determine the hard decisions. It should be decided on what’s best for the school district, the entire district.

There are too many unknowns right now to decide. The board will seek all the information it can to try and determine what’s best. They’ve shown the willingness to do that over the last six months with the committee that was formed to sort out facts and the many public meetings held to gather patron input.

But what is also gained through the decision-making process is additional time for all patrons to do the same — become educated on the pros and cons of closing or keeping schools open.

It’s not going to be an easy decision, whichever way it goes, but we all need to come to grips with what could happen.

We’re all in this together. All of us.

Comments

Torch 4 years, 5 months ago

...and we're wisely staying neutral.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I like how no one wants to mention the big elephant in the room, which is funding for extra curricular activities. Last I checked I shouldn't have to fund programs that benefit less then 5% of the entire student body. Yet we do year after year and in doing so neglect the primary goal of our school, which is education of our children.

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NanCrisp 4 years, 5 months ago

One can only hope that when we say we're going to do "what’s best for the school district, the entire district," we mean that we won't throw academic considerations under the bus in order to keep people from having to pay a few extra dollars a month for athletics and other extra-curricular activities. I believe I saw that the proposed fee increase was $35 for the school year. Divided by 10 months, that's a whopping $3.50 extra per student to engage in extra-curricular programs. Makes it pretty obvious that closing the rural schools is not really about saving money. In fact, it pretty much looks like cutting the rural patrons of USD 348 off at the knees in order to save people from ponying up $3.50 per month.

It sure makes it look like the rural schools were conned into consolidating with B.C. years ago so that this scenario could eventually play out. Get those folks' tax money into the district so we can build a bunch of new buildings that they will help pay for, tell them that they are also benefitting because their kids get to go to the new schools (first the new high school that became the junior high and then the newer high school). They opt in and get to keep their neighborhood elementary schools. But it isn't long before the district starts eying ways to shut down those rural schools and bus those kids into town, saving money on those buildings and keeping the tax revenue provided by the rural district patrons. Bait and switch, plain and simple.

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