Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: High school is more than a building

Letter by Ronald Kretschmer, Tacoma on Jan. 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm with 4 Comments »
January 26, 2011 2:59 pm

A high school is more than a mere edifice where the contents can be shuffled and emitted back out in another repository. A person’s high school becomes a huge part of their very foundation for a lifetime.

We hold high school reunions because that time of our life is the most indelible of all our experiences. High school is the formula that creates our dearest friends, our sharpest memories and our grandest dreams. A student goes to elementary schools and middles schools, but they become their high school.

Closing Henry Foss High School might save a sum of money in the short term, but it will dissect a wonderful community of students who are high achievers and fantastic people. It is a disgrace to burden the lives of these students because the adults in their lives have failed. Even if the school were to reopen in three years, it will never be the same and the students who made it what it is will never be the same. Regardless of where they end up, it will not feel like their school.

I urge the Tacoma School District to make this decision about the students rather than about facilities. A school district should always have the best interest of the students as its first priority and closing Foss cannot, in any manner, be construed as what it is best for the students.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. hansgruber says:

    Consolidating Foss into the other 4 high schools is the solution for now.

    Maintaining a school at 61% capacity (built to serve 1737 students with only 1066 students currently) is not good stewardship.

  2. commoncents says:

    hans – you completely failed to address any point in the letter. I also believe that consolidation is the right thing – but at least acknowledge that the points that this letter writer made have merit and very well could over-ride the financial aspects that are driving this decision. If it were a matter of closing the school down completely then it would be a ‘no-brainer’…but it’s not.

  3. BigSwingingRichard says:

    I agree with Ronny, Foss IS more than just a high school; it’s also a place where someone got shot, not unlike some homes in Tacoma.

    But don’t worry kid, the TPS is not really going to close Foss.

    I believe this is just an exercise to re-negociate the following:

    1) excessive teacher pay contracts which are out of line with inflation and surrounding districts and the TSD has finally realized they cannot afford to overpay everyone. This proposal puts pressure on the union to adjust the current contract to a level within the means of the district.

    2) reversing the bad decisions to create two more separate high schools in Tacoma during an extended period of falling enrollments. The district uses portables in a Point Defiance parking lot for SAMI and leases multiple real estate locations in downtown (expect SAMI and SOTA to get moved into Foss – this makes this move a “way to save Foss”, something the district should have done along time ago anyway but until now have been unwilling to address.

    3) Justification and another scare tactic to fool votes into continuing to pay more and more in property taxes to fund a failing school district. Just wait, the next school levy will be justified to “save Foss”.

    4) Create cover for an ineffective school board who lack the organizational management skills and backbone to standup to the adults who benefit from the status quo: teachers and the teachers’ union who are not, in my opinion, really interested in implementing the real changes needed to improve the low level of instruction in the TSD.

    Foss will stay around, but the threat of closing it will used as a bargaining chip against those adults who continue to place their own interests above the interests of you and your classmates.

    Ronny- you have fallen into their trap by fighting against this fake closing. Your protests will be used to accomplish the above and to justify making changes which the school board lacks the courage to directly propose.

    See if my predictions come true. You may begin to learn something about how the public school world sometimes operates. Sorry kid, but you are not their highest priority.

  4. violachick424 says:

    Foss is a loving school. I started going there this year and right away i felt at home in this school. When people think about foss they think of the shooting in 2007 and the school that the urinal blew up in but foss is more than that foss is a place where students go and aren’t judged or thought of as a nerd we all get along as everyone has said “foss is boss” as a student I wear my save foss shirt proudly and i want to stay in this school foss is wonderful foss is loving and the students all are one big family. Save my school so my sister and the 6th graders will be able to walk these halls and the freshman,sophmores, and juniors can say they graduated henry foss high school where everyday is a great day and students are proud to say that they are a henry foss falcon. Do not judge us by four students that decided to make a bad choice because we are a very good school and i am proud to be a falcon.

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