Closing schools has hidden costs including:
• Increased transportation costs (average often $10 per student per day).
• Addition of ugly portable classrooms in remaining schools.
• Overcrowding and loss of connection to neighborhood that could impact performance.
• Future high cost to develop new schools when population increases (Wainwright is near a mixed-use center targeted in plans for increase growth).
I favor other options:
• Expanding grade levels of schools with space to K-6, 7 or 8 as middle schools/junior high schools have significant behavior and delinquency problems compared to K-8 model.
• Combining grade levels (1 and 2 or 2 and 3, etc) in classrooms when there are too few students for a full classroom.
• Assigning administration staff to more than one school.
• Contracting out classroom space for child care, after-school care and tutoring when an elementary school has excess rooms.
• Modifying boundaries to balance number of students.
• Charging higher-income parents for transportation.
• Negotiate/support legislation that would return high school-level adult education to the school district so additional tax share and fees charged to adults could offset maintenance costs of existing schools. Offering high school-level instruction in colleges is more expensive than using existing district schools for this purpose.
• Community colleges and technical schools in Pierce County should be combined into one coordinated/collaborative college so duplication could be minimized.
We have other options; closure of schools should be a last resort.