Letter to the editor
To the editor:
What has happened to this small town, I must ask? It seems to have really stemmed from the fact that patrons got involved when the topic came up about cutting seventh-grade sports. True, but with that said, it opened my eyes to the school district’s financial stability along with many other patrons. This was not a personal attack against the rural schools. I have been very focused on helping put pressure on the school board to make the right decision. The sports programs are less than 2 percent of the school budgets and bring so much more to the students. Accountability, team work and respect to name a few things. So please quit bashing the athletics department. We pay user fees and ticket fees to get into the events, so the athletics department pretty much covers itself. The numerous hours the coaches put in, on and off the field, if you have ever noticed, are surprising. Sometimes these are the only mother/father figure these students have.
It’s time to quit cutting classes, programs and activities and make long-term decisions that will benefit the school district for years to come. If the 4-year-old program leaves Marion Springs Elementary School, the total number of students that attend that school drops as well. I would like to know the actual number of students that attend that school now with the 4-year-old program gone. From my understanding, Vinland Elementary School kindergarten will be coming into Baldwin. What is the difference of this class coming into Baldwin and what future precedence does this set for the other rural school? Will those kids have to go back to Vinland for first grade? The sad thing is, kids really don’t care where they go to school. Why not do what’s in the best interest of all of the Baldwin School District, where their children will attend school at some point. We need to do what is in the best interest of this entire district and get the teachers raises they truly deserve to continue teaching at this district. We already have lost quite a few good ones; do we want to continue to do that?
Why should the rural schools get more funds per student? People keep saying “the saving they just can’t see.” I say really? What don’t you see? Many people are not aware of the savings if the rural schools would close. I was one of those people until the fact-finding report.
The school board really needs to make a decision and get this community back on track. The school board had the facts in front of them long ago and it’s a shame that the poor decisions made early this year have resulted in negativity of the community. Decisions need to be made so the teachers can focus on the new school year and not keep having the “not knowing” scenario and not wait until the December timeline that has been mentioned.
I’m feeling sad for the people that have been personally attacked on this issue from both sides. This is the community we all live in, so let’s try and get back and stick together and make this the best district we know it can be. We need to keep personal feelings out of this and do what it takes to help get this district back on track. The school board has a very tough job at hand, but a few members have made this personal as well. We voted for them to do what the vision statement set out to do. That is:
• Provide a rigorous, balanced education where all students can reach their full potential
• Recruit and retain high quality staff
• Involve families and the community; maintain a collaborative environment
• Be good stewards of public funds; allocate funds strategically
The first one makes it really clear. Balanced? This is not balanced by far. Let’s get going and do the right thing.