Archive for Thursday, July 29, 2010

Letter to the editor

July 29, 2010

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.

Ann Christie

Rural Taxpayer


Julie Craig 8 years, 5 months ago

OK, but where are all of the kids going to go? Where will Rainbow Preschool, PAT and the 4 year olds be put? In the moldy, crumbling, too expensive to maintain old PC building?

Just say no to new building projects!!!!!!! Think about it foks. It sounds good in theory, but lets do a lot of figuring of available space, class sizes, and what's really best for the kids.


BaldwinDad 8 years, 5 months ago

You propose keep EXTRA curricular activities at the cost of cutting funding to over half the student body. How is this statement true, well lets see closing the outlying schools will mean ALL 600+ kids in grades K-5th will be affected, with not only higher student to teacher ratios, but less funding since a number of students will no longer be attending the Baldwin School system. Their are quite a few of the rural school parents that have will just pull their children from the schools and home school them at a loss of $4k a student to the district. Even if only 10% of those parents do this, it would mean losing roughly $100k from the budget, was this factored into the vague fact finding study the board did?? As you said yourself kids really don't care where they go to school and I'm sure some of them would much rather go to school at home then ride an hour in the school bus on a cold winter's morning.

Also I would like to see proof that that all the EXTRA curricular activities only use 2% of the schools budget are you counting the cost of insurance, salaries, transportation and the interest on the new facilities. We just spent over 2.4 million on a new track and field facility which is not needed, since the current track program has made it obvious then can win with out it.

I'm sorry if your confused about the concept of fiscal responsibility, so your calling it bashing the athletic department, but I'm tired of my tax dollars being used for other programs that benefit a very small % of our students. When I pay my taxes for school it's to educate all my communities children so they can go out and either get a job and become productive or determine if they want to go to higher education to continue their learning. As has been previously stated no job interview I have ever been to nor any hiring manager as ever ask me what position I played in High school sports, nor if we won or lost our season.

Greatgazoo stated we don't have the room to support this move for more then a year or two. At that point what are we to do move all those kids back out to the outlying schools?? This is NOT a long term solution to our problems. The long term solution will be more along the lines of elimination administration costs, charter/private schools, different funding and more competition for govt run schools. Don't fool yourself to think that the school board or the administration is truly making the best decisions that our in the best interest of our children if they were we would not be sitting here today having these discussions about closing schools while we are paying interest on two bond issues that were created to help alleviate over crowding in our current schools and to pay for athletic fields for EXTRA curricular activities..

Balanced your telling me it's balanced to have our kids paying more in text book fees then they pay in activities fees?? So lets see it's ok to charge them more to learn then to play. Yeah, that's balanced.


NanCrisp 8 years, 5 months ago

Excellent response, BaldwinDad. And although Mrs. Christie does not live in town, her "rural" area is along the section of Hwy 56 that is within the BESPC/BESIC attendance area. Just in case anyone might misconstrue that she is a Marion Springs or Vinland patron.

As far as keeping personal feelings out, choosing athletics over academics is, of course, wholly based on personal feelings. If you keep personal feelings out, then you logically turn to the core mission of education, which is to produce capable employees for our economy, which has little to do with public school sports. While there is, indeed, a very large service-sector market for professions in sports, it would be difficult to boost our nation's economy off of this industry. The greater cost efficiencies in educational investment come from focusing on the three R's.


Spiderpig 8 years, 5 months ago

Getting rid of all athletics would not save your schools. Only the school board is doing that. It is not a choice of one or the other.

You guys will home school your kids for about a week before you realize that it is not all that easy. And, if you do want to have socially awkward kids to prove your point, good luck.

What are the 3 R's Nan? Rural schools Remain Rediculous????


BaldwinDad 8 years, 5 months ago

LoL...that three R's thing was funny Spiderpig and I would whole hardly agree with you if it were not for the fact that if closed we will be out of space in 2-3 years given that fact that our student body has been growing steadily for the last 10 years. Then on top of that you have the possible growth with the new inter-modal. So after we have closed the Rural or Outlying schools and we would be at max capacity in 2 years, what then?? There are three options as I see it.

1.) We reopen the outlying schools, shuffling kids back out to those facilities. Then we have to re-hire teachers and staff we just fired two years ago. All the while still short on funds. 2.) We pass a third bond to build on to the new schools we have just completed sending our community further in debt. 3.) We allow the current administration to bring in Govt Trailers and park them all around are brand new schools. So they have enough room for all the kids.

Personally imho, none of those three are acceptable. I'm not on here advocating keeping the rural schools open because I like them, but because I see no other really valid option at this time. Now if someone will give me a LONG TERM solution to the problem I will be more then glad to listen and if reasonable support it.


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