Friday, September 20, 2013

Neighborhood’s dilemma

I’ve now posted twice to question the proposed additions to Mann and Longfellow schools. I want to reiterate that I’m not trying to pit Hoover against Mann and Longfellow, or to deprive Mann and Longfellow of the renovations – such as air conditioning and multi-purpose rooms – that I completely agree they ought to receive. Just the opposite: I’m objecting to the way the school board’s plan pits those schools (not to mention Shimek, Lincoln, and Hills) against one another.

The plan, in effect, coerces Mann and Longfellow families into accepting dramatic increases in the number of kids at their schools, out of fear that otherwise it will be their school that gets closed.

There is no reason any schools should be put to that choice. Ours is a thriving, growing district. The board can afford to keep its existing schools open and full, especially if it builds only as much new capacity as it needs. It should not force a fewer/bigger/farther-away elementary school model on a public that doesn’t want it. The board should be the community’s advocate, not its adversary. To quote Phil Hemingway at the Hills candidate forum (again): “District actions can fill or empty any school. The board should stop this constant threat.”

No comments: