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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 with 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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Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. Susan, How do you know that all those ideas have not already been considered and discounted as unworkable?

  2. I don’t see what the big deal is with closing a few elementary schools. Kids move and change schools all the time. They get a new teacher every year no matter what school they go to, so why is it such a crisis to go to 3rd grade two miles from where you went to 2nd grade, especially if some of your buddies from the old school move with you?

    If any kids are upset about this it’s only because they are watching adults go into a panic over it.

  3. cclngthr says:

    ronniew,
    Agreed. Kids move around more often than you realize. Some move 3-4 times in a school year.

    I was talking with Dan about the budget issues and when I asked him about changing boundaries, he said that won’t reduce the budget (I was asking him about the close proximity of schools such as Blix to McKinley). Schools have to close, and the east side and west side schools are smaller than they should be due to a lack of students. Closing them is the best option.

  4. cclngthr says:

    The community and technical colleges are not operated by school districts. They were 20+ years ago, but once the legislature changed the trade schools into technical colleges, they are operated with their own fund source.

    Having multiage classes are doable but teachers say they don’t like them due to added responsibilities and planning. To them it is easier to have a single grade class. I don’t have a problem with it because I like multiage classes. Some of the classes I have taught were 6, 7, 8 and 9, 10, 11, 12th.

    I also don’t have a problem with multiage schools, as far as a 6-12th grade building or a K-8 building. People think in these buildings, older kids pick on younger kids, abuse them or are interested in sex, etc (older kids mainly), but school is for learning, nothing else. When I went to Truman, I had to go to the elementary school (now Skyline) for some services and I mingled with younger kids if they were around, but it was fine by me.

  5. Great letter Susan. Clearly you understand the value of education and are able to make some super suggestions.
    Notice it is the rightwingers who don’t like your letter and who think closing schools is a great idea. Again, we see the sociopathy of the gop ideology at work in these poor exploited individuals.
    The rightwing has been attacking education for 40 years. I guess it is no coincidence that the typical uneducated rigtwinger thinks closing access to education is a good thing, Remember, the states that have the lowest student test scores are red states that have no collective bargaining.
    The gop’s attack on all American values only highlights their anti ameicanism.

  6. cclngthr says:

    sue1234,
    Doing what Susan suggests will not close the budget gap. rearranging boundary lines does not reduce the budget. Having administrators cover more than one school has been tried and it also does not reduce the budget, TSD tried this in 2006-2007 at Delong, Sherman, Wainwright, Franklin and Jefferson and possibly other elementary schools.

    The issue is there is not enough students to cover all of the schools. Some schools have to close because of it. Empty classroom space is a waste of upkeep, time, utilities, mantainance and resources the district no longer has.

  7. sue — How is consolidating two half-full schools into one closing access to education?

  8. Well ronniew I am speaking in the gestalt.

  9. sue — Can you answer a specific question with a lucid, linear answer please? I don’t want to (and won’t) read a lengthy generic assault on far right-wing ideals that has nothing to do with this particular discussion. I really want to know why you think it’s a bad idea to consolidate 2 half-full schools into one school.

    How do you feel about combining grade-levels in one school when there aren’t enough kids to fill classrooms? Would you rather have your kid change schools so he could be in a class full of 2nd graders or be in mixed 1st and 2nd grade class?

  10. Ronniew.. your sociopathic gop ideology is the problem. Americans have been subjected to the destruction of our country since Reagan. Reagan killed the best education system in the world when he became governor of California.
    Ronniew.. the word gestalt means… “the whole”.
    I’m simply commenting on the destruction of education by the rightwing. You know, ronniew, there is a reason why the GOP hates education. The educated won’t believe absurd lies, myths, and delusions. Did you know Fox News Viewers are twice as likely to fear Sharia law?Why is that? People who dont watch FOx News are not scared of Sharia law. Do you know why? Educated people can process information in the abstract along with many variables. We know Sharia law will not happen because of our constitution.
    Ronniew the smaller the class size the BETTER the education.

  11. Balancing the budget by taking funds away from education is absurd. We rank 47th in reading literacy in the world. So, yeah, lets cut funding to education and let’s sink even lower in literacy. Did you know the NIH has put the inability to read on its list of life threatening diseases?
    The action in Wisconsin and Ohio clearly demonstrate the rightwings desire to sabbotage educatiion.
    I know how to solve the budget crisis. TAX THE RICH MORE.
    All you rightwingers, making your 46k a year, worrying about the rich paying too much in taxes are the problem. You have been lied to and exploited so much all you can do is vote against your own economic interests and that of the majority of Americans.
    Guess what you guys, no matter how many times you vote Rebulican, you will not get rich. But keep voting for the rich and be proud when you all have turned America into a banana republic. Then, blame the educated liberals.

  12. sue — That’s what I thought. You can’t answer a question.

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