Letters to the Editor

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SCHOOLS: Closure costs more in the long run

Letter by Susan Reynolds, Steilacoom on Feb. 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm | 12 Comments »
February 28, 2011 1:03 pm

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.

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