This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Closing a public school is an excruciating experience for everyone – students, parents, teachers, school boards and administrators.
That’s especially true for a comprehensive high school like Tacoma’s Foss, whose distinguished academic programs draw students from the entire city.
But even Foss’ most ardent supporters ought to hold their fire until Tacoma School Superintendent Art Jarvis can clarify the impacts of not closing Foss and several small elementary schools.
As he points out, mothballing Foss would save a full $2 million of the $5 million that must be carved out of the school district’s spending next year. The temporary closure of some elementary schools would likewise achieve major savings on administration and overhead.
Tacomans must understand the alternatives, and the administration itself doesn’t have them worked out yet. It is crunching the numbers to determine how that $5 million funding gap might be filled without closing schools.
More money could no doubt be squeezed out of the administrative budget, though Jarvis says he’s already done that repeatedly in recent years. Getting all the way to $5 million could require wholesale layoffs of teachers and expansion of class sizes, and perhaps the elimination of precious electives and extracurricular programs.
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