DeKalb school closings: Long meeting, long faces and longshots

I learned one main lesson from the long meeting tonight of the Citizens Planning Task Force  on school closings in DeKalb: I never want to serve on such a panel.

There is simply no happy ending to this careful process, which depends on reams of data showing enrollments, projected growth, capacities of nearby schools, future housing development around the schools, along with intangibles such as what a school means to a community.

Clearly, from the turnout of 400 parents, the 21 schools that could have been closed mean a lot to their communities. By the end of the long session the list was whittled down to 14 schools, sending the Midvale parents in their green shirts home, relieved to be off the list. But the dozens of sign-carrying Meadowview parents left still anxious that their  plucky little school may disappear.

The task force members debated, discussed and deliberated how to determine which schools should close. I was impressed with how much information members sought from district data collectors. I was also impressed with their concern for the impact on students, repeatedly saying that it would be important to divide students from a closed school among only two or three other schools so that friends would not be separated.

In creating the closure list, the county and the panel looked at schools that were below 450 students, which is the magic number for full state funding for an elementary school. Then they looked at buildings to see which might be operating under capacity. Next was a review of whether nearby facilities had the room to take students if the school closed and whether a flood of new students would strain the receiving school.

I was surprised to hear DeKalb schools official Robert Moseley say that renovation projects under way at some of the schools on the list would likely continue even if the schools were shuttered, either because the construction projects were necessary for the preservation of the building — as in a new roof — or because of contractual obligations.

It seems to me that if DeKalb goes ahead and spends millions to fix up buildings that it ends up not using, it should at least consider turning the facilities over to charter schools. (Speaking of charters, Peachtree Hope Charter School was on hand to court parents whose schools may be closed. The charter was approved by the new state Charter School Commission and will open on Memorial Drive in DeKalb in August.)

I arrived very early for the 6 p.m. meeting and talked to a few parents, who seemed reconciled that their schools might close. They understood the financial crisis that the county was facing, although some could not fathom how it took county leaders by surprise. Most were aware that their schools were losing students as their neighborhoods were either seeing fewer families with kids or were suffering waves of foreclosures. Still, they said their communities could rally in a few years when the real estate market recovered and then there could be a rush on local schools.

They were hoping for a miracle that would enable all the schools on the list to stay open, but that seems doubtful with DeKalb’s $88 million deficit.

Here is the list as it stands now. And here is the AJC news story on the meeting.

Updated DeKalb proposed closure list

[Estimated savings if closed and available seats for students]

Atherton: $788,830 savings, 207 seats open

Avondale: $570,650 savings, 244 seats open

Briar Vista: $515,700 savings, 100 seats open

Clifton: $597,830 savings, 170 seats open

Flat Shoals: $671,260 savings, 224 seats open

Gresham Park: $589,670 savings, 178 seats open

Kelley Lake: $471,150 savings, 68 seats open

Knollwood: $594,090 savings, 311 seats open

Laurel Ridge: $469,550 savings, 79 seats open

Meadowview: $536,250 savings, 121 seats open

Medlock: $520,680 savings, 108 seats open

Peachcrest: $565,580 savings, 328 seats open

Rowland: $586,020 savings, 110 seats open

Sky Haven: $680,970 savings, 300 seats open

43 comments Add your comment

Free Market Educator

March 24th, 2010
1:44 am

Perhaps this is why we have run out of money….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO2eh6f5Go0&feature=related

Here’s a non-government solution for the dispossessed students…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM6uqj0_jQc&feature=related

Good news

March 24th, 2010
4:15 am

But the good news is, with careful planning and deliberation, the BOE will be able to save the majority of central office jobs, even as teachers are being cut.

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Vox

March 24th, 2010
6:18 am

Many of the central office jobs get in the way of teaching….. Instead of having a math coach “help” teachers, why don’t they DIRECTLY help the students by actually TEACHING the at-risk students??

barneyb

March 24th, 2010
7:06 am

Sorry parents & kids…but WHY are these schools still open? They are not convenience/vanity neighborhood schools to serve a select few! With the small enrollment and large operating costs, the cost per student ratio must be outrageous! They should have been closed years ago!

DekalbMom

March 24th, 2010
7:57 am

I was born, raised, and educated in Dekalb County. I currently live in Dekalb County. As a working professional, there are several things I do not understand. #1 – Keeping an half empty school open (why didn’t they think of this before?), #2 – The sheer size of the Central Office (is it really necessary and a benefit to the students to have a HUGE Central Office? Reduce that number NOW!, #3 – Math Coach/Reading Coach (what’s the purpose? who are they coaching? (get rid of extra baggage that doesn’t have a direct and immediate impact on students’ success), #4 – renovating schools that may close (isn’t it cheaper to pay the penalty to void the contract?). Finally, when decisions are made — they need to be solid business decisions not based on emotions and intangible factors (for example — don’t want to split up friends; what do you they think happen when a family moves? – duh)

bootney farnsworth

March 24th, 2010
8:15 am

that’s the essence of education in Georgia.
top heavy, inefficient, and all too often racially driven.

Attentive Parent

March 24th, 2010
8:24 am

This is a question directed to the teachers.

Do you find that the purpose of the math and reading coaches is to be a resource of knowledge and techniques to teach those subjects better?

or Are they largely in a school to be an enforcer of a particular instructional style?

old teacher

March 24th, 2010
8:42 am

Math/reading coaches are to help improve instruction, but, saying that right now they need to be teaching math/reading classes at least part of the day, be it enrichment or remedial.Many are political promotions and seldom the best most informed teachers.

Vince

March 24th, 2010
8:43 am

This reporting is misleading.

It should be noted that the schools that remain on the list are there only because the committee didn’t get around to discussing them. They will get to them in the weeks ahead. Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean that these schools are better candidates for closure than the ones that were dropped.

Medlock, Laurel Ridge and Briar Vista were not discussed. None of them fit the formula for closure. I think they will still on the list as long as possible in order to placate the folks in south Dekalb.

curious

March 24th, 2010
9:27 am

It will take an act of God to clear up the mess in the Dekalb County School System. It is truly a crime and a shame that teachers’ salaries are being cut while central office staff and other non-essential employees continue to do basically nothing yet are barely impacted by pay cuts because of their large salaries. While Almighty God allows us to make choices, correct choices obviously are not being made. It is my prayer that others join in and pray that the so called leaders would make appropriate decisions which basically require common sense and fairness.

Atherton Parent

March 24th, 2010
9:41 am

Please close Atherton Elementary. The new principal after the cheating scandal is useless, the vice principal is equally useless (I’ve never even seen her!). No leadership, no PTA, teachers with attitudes… Cut this fat!

Ann

March 24th, 2010
10:45 am

If you think you can make a good argument for central office bloat in 2 minutes, then come to the next Budget Committee meeting and say it. It is a smaller venue and a smaller crowd, and it is easier to be heard than at a full board meeting. It is also a place where you can have face-to-face discussions before and after with your board representatives. Show up, make a good data-driven argument, and see what happens. The school closing is only part of the huge deficit that the BOE has to fix, and it only fixes approx. $2 million. That leaves over $110 million more to discuss. Every area will be affected. If you think there is considerable bloat in a particular area, get that information on paper and hand it to them yourselves at the next budget committee meeting. The BOE has proven that they will listen to logical, data-driven arguments – Montessori is a case in point. Montessori proved by showing up at every meeting with the same data that they could run a cost-neutral program, and they were spared. Sparing isn’t the point – it was the $$ savings that was the point.

Larry

March 24th, 2010
11:39 am

Do you find that the purpose of the math and reading coaches is to be a resource of knowledge and techniques to teach those subjects better?

or Are they largely in a school to be an enforcer of a particular instructional style?

ANSWER: Politically appointed (by CL or his cronies as pay for loyalty) and completely worthless. They should be the first to go, and an intelligent BOE would see that. They have no impact on student learing.

David S

March 24th, 2010
12:51 pm

How’s that forced government option working out for you?

Haven’t seen any headlines about mass private school closings. Just saying…

But continue to bash the concept of getting government completely out of the education business. They are obviously doing a great job.

Elle

March 24th, 2010
1:38 pm

Maybe these schools could be saved, along with lots of money, if the summer employees are cut out this year. These children employeed for the summer are the children and relatives of top employees, including Lewis and Pope, and other Central Office and Service Center staff members. They report for pay and do nothing!!!

Further, these schools could be saved if DCSS employees were not sent to Lewis’ home and Pope’s office to pick up their “system vehicles” to be detailed and gassed-up at DCSS expense. Why do they even have these vehicles, with Lewis on leave and Pope demoted?!!! This is disgraceful!!!

These schools could be saved if over half of the top level and their secretaries were cut; not moved around “again”, CUT!!! Along with all the disgraceful spending on fancy furniture and accessories. There is a lot a image going on and not much work.

Further, Pat Pope should NOT be receiving over $200,000 when she is sitting oding nothing! I do not know how she can show her face for taking this money from the teachers and students!!!

We need our schools and our teachers for the students. There rest needs to be stopped NOW!!!

Vince

March 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

David S.

Remember that it is the fault of the private sector (the banking industry) that is causing school and other government cut backs. Public schools do a better job with less money than do private schools.

…just saying….

current teacher

March 24th, 2010
2:11 pm

I currently work in Dekalb co. I can honestly say that I don’t want my son to even go to school in this county because of this mess. There is so much political corruption. We also have people who are supposed to be support staff but all they do is sit around and do nothing or do something that a student could do as an elective, make copies, put folders together..etc..it’s a shame. Meanwhile I have to take a paycut to account for the County’s criminal behavior..stealing money, paying themselves high sallaries, hiring friends and family and giving them big salaries. I can’t wait to leave this county. I hate to say it but most parents will find that in some schools they will be left with less qualified teachers and their students education will suffer as there is no money for books, materials and supplies, copies..etc. We already opperate with no money..where is the money??? The schools certainly don’t have any.

A Different Opinion

March 24th, 2010
4:43 pm

Folks, I have said this before and I will keep saying it…..none of these schools have to close. Just one act will clear up DeKalb County’s budget woes…..get rid of school buses!!!!! We pay for MARTA……let’s use it….it’s SMARTA as they say….parents, make your older kids walk to school…..it will help our obesity problem……I know, kids in the lower grades will have to be driven but it should be the parents responsiblity to get their kids to school anyway and it should not be a function of our education system to operate a transportation system.

David S

March 24th, 2010
5:20 pm

Vince – before you ignorantly call the banking sector private, you should look into the truth of the Federal Reserve, its creation by Congress, its monopoly on setting interest rates, its funding of government debt, its head and his appointment by the president, and I could go on. There is nothing private about the banking system except the profits. The Constitution demands that the Congress coin money and regulate its value and they illegally gave that over to the Fed. Since then, FDR’s confiscation of america’s gold, Nixon’s elimination of the gold standard, the creation of the FDIC (socialization of risk, privatization of profit), the creation of federally-guaranteed mortgages via Freddy and Fanny, and every other intervention into the banking industry by government has made the system anything but private. If you think that any of that sounds like private, then you need to seek help.

The fact that government run education is funded by linking it with property tax valuation is the stupidity of government, certainly not something the banks thought up. The inefficiencies in the government system and the like and the massive waste in administrative overhead quite counter your argument. Over $9500 is being spent on each student. Many private schools and every homeschool spends way less.

And since the government does nothing but steal what it gets, how is it the fault of the private sector that the government must make cutbacks. You would think that the immorality of the theft alone would keep the monies you take and the things you do to a minimum so that the theft could be kept to a minimum. Oh yes, lets blame the private sector for being too poor to fund the robber when he shows up at the door. Do you listen to yourself??

As if the Federal Reserve funded bubble and massive inflation from the Fed printing presses had absolutely nothing to do with this Depression, just like it had nothing to do with the last one.

Please go to http://www.mises.org and get an economics lesson. Stop listening to that liar Bernanke. He didn’t even see this coming.

My point is still valid. Everyone is afraid to try another approach.

Vince

March 24th, 2010
5:40 pm

My statement and my point stand as written.

Ernest

March 24th, 2010
6:11 pm

Maureen said,

I was surprised to hear DeKalb schools official Robert Moseley say that renovation projects under way at some of the schools on the list would likely continue even if the schools were shuttered, either because the construction projects were necessary for the preservation of the building — as in a new roof — or because of contractual obligations.

At the end of the day, the taxpayers still ‘own’ the facilities. While the building may not be used anymore in the near term, there is still an obligation for general maintenance. The same could be said if you own rental property. You must also consider the neighborhoods the building are located in. Allowing a county building to fall into disrepair in a residential neighborhood would be criminal, IMO.

It is ‘possible’ that a school recommended for closing could re-open if a few years, assuming there are population shifts. Continuing with roofing projects ensure there isn’t additional damage done to the facility

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Ann

March 24th, 2010
6:55 pm

David, this blog is for people with constructive comments regarding DeKalb County schools. We don’t need an unrealistic political rant clogging up space. I’m sure there are just as many ineffective home schools and private schools as there are public schools. You cannot paint with such a broad brush. Please stop posting anti-government propaganda here. Instead spend your time counting up the trillions George Bush ran up the deficit growing our federal government. That should keep you busy for a while.

Home school mom

March 24th, 2010
7:47 pm

Avoid the politics and mismanagement. Take a 100% interest in your child’s education….Home School

Ann

March 24th, 2010
9:05 pm

Home school mom, are you a single mom? Is your husband disabled and you have to work for insurance? Does your husband not make enough money to support you and your children? Do you have a job like teaching or nursing that you love and helps others? It’s great that you homeschool and feel it’s right for your family, but it isn’t right for every family, and it certainly isn’t a solution to what ails the economy and public schools. In the 1800s, when almost everyone worked in very close proximity to their homes and farms and a mother’s work was feeding and clothing their children from the home, children went to a schoolhouse. It isn’t a death sentence to go to a public school. And, for the record, I am 100% interested in my child’s education and to insinuate that anyone who doesn’t homeschool isn’t 100% vested is moronic, closed-minded, and naive. I have an Ivy League degree, and I was educated in a public school. I have an extremely good job, and my two children attend a DeKalb, non-magnet public school and are learning more than I ever did at their age.

Angela

March 24th, 2010
9:35 pm

8,800 support and admin personnel to less than 7,000 teaching and media specialist personnel and getting so much worse.

Maureen and AJC staffers know this. Why do you think they keep running stories about DeKalb? They know it is the worst system in the metro area. If you think you are immune because you live in affluent areas of DeKalb – think again – property values are tied to school systems – always have been. In my area real estate agents advertise houses based on Oak Grove and Briarlake test scores. But ALL schools will eventually be affected.

The sad thing is closing these schools will only make a tiny dent in the budget. Until Ms. Tyson and the BOE tackle the largest admin (1,239 Central Office administrators to approximately 6,800 teachers) numbers in the state and the largest support group – 7,500 of them.

Look at these figures:

HR has:
61 employees
Salary and Benefit cost: $4,488,956
($73,589 per employee including clerical staff)

MIS has:
290 employees
Salary and Benefit cost: $19,031,262
($65,625 including clerical staff)

PATS had Kitchen and HVAC (heating and air) maintenance jobs advertised last month for $43,000 to $58,000 with 3 years experience and a high school diploma or GED equivalent. This is more than teachers make. I just looked on PATS and those maintenance jobs are filled (of course – where else would they make these salaries) and the teaching jobs that have been advertised for months (science and math) are still sitting there.

Ms. Tyson is proposing cutting 18 Certified Technical Support Specialists (CTSS). These CTSSs are all personnel INSIDE the schoolhouse.

MIS (Management Information Systems) INSIDE the schoolhouse personnel (CTSS):
111 employees (CTSS)
Average salary and benefits for employees inside the schoolhouse (CTSS): $51,336 annually.

MIS (Management Information Systems) OUTSIDE of the schoolhouse personnel:
181 employees
Average salary and benefits for MIS personnel OUTSIDE the schoolhouse: $73,683 annually

So the 18 MIS personnel Ms. Tyson and the BOE will be cutting are INSIDE the schoolhouse and have the lowest annual salary. Not one of the 181 higher paid personnel OUTSIDE the schoolhouse will be touched. Look at and compare the salaries for personnel all over DCSS inside the schoolhouse and outside the schoolhouse. You will this pattern is pervasive.

Ms. Tyson and the BOE have shown such blatant disregard for the personnel who work with students INSIDE the schoolhouse that they need to be voted out in November.

(source: state Travel and Salary audit 2009; DCSS website – Human Resources webpage staff directory)

bootney farnsworth

March 24th, 2010
9:40 pm

ultimately the following things must happen to bring sanity back to education. otherwise we’re still doomed to failure

1) get the politics out of school. especially the racial politics. education is and should be colorblind.

2) year ’round education.

3) let schools actually put out kids who are disruptive and don’t want to be there

4) put some realistic guidelines on how much effort and money must be spend on disabled and special needs students.

5) stop the barbeque (pork)

6) understand education funding needs to be overhauled – the days of
green chalkboards and erasers are long over

bootney farnsworth

March 24th, 2010
9:44 pm

home school mom:

not everybody has the resources, money, and skills to home school.
public school can and does work very well, when the kids are expected
to perform and the parents are involved.

this isn’t one size fits all.

bootney farnsworth

March 24th, 2010
9:47 pm

sometimes I consider moving to DeKalb to be closer to my job.

then I look across the street at Clarkston HS and that silly thought
goes away. no way I’d put my kid into the DeKalb system

Sad

March 25th, 2010
12:47 am

Talk about the maintenance positions being filled. I wonder how many of those positions were filled with people who know what they are doing. The Maintenance Department does not require any specified education for a position. Most companies require a State license for plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc. DeKalb does not care what happens to their employees. The mechanics just let their helpers do their jobs and put their helper’s life in jeopardy. THIS HAS BEEN PROVEN! Does everyone remember the electrical helper who lost his life so unnecessarily. Most mechanics and foremen get their jobs because of who they know or the color of the end of their noses. If the DCSS employed more responsible and educated workers in this department, so much money would not be wasted in this department; and this would benefit the budget for the teachers and students!!!

Do Do Baker

March 25th, 2010
1:01 am

Are we happy yet in DeKalb County? Can’t the school board’s pricey attorney, Josie Alexander, solve any of the county’s horrific problems? What about Ronald B. Ramsey and Robin Goolsby over in the Office of Internal Resolution? Can’t they resolve any of the problems? What about Crawford Lewis? Oh, that’s right. He’s at home on “self-imposed” suspension. Hmm. Is he banned from the school system? What about Chief Wood, the police guru of the school system? Can’t she bring about order to the school system? Can she go get some of that CrawfordCo Gasoline and put it in those DeKalb Po Po cars at two miles per gallon? Poor ole Crawford. Beware when you start “banning” folks; the “ban” may return to you. Eugene Walker, your colleagues are so inexperienced in the game. Wouldn’t you agree? Where is Dr. Jim Williams and Gary Sams and Stan Hawkins when you need them? Yes, yes, you left the kids in charge of the candy shop.

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Amanda

March 25th, 2010
10:23 am

Well things like this will keep our family from moving to that county and buying a house there.

Ole Guy

March 25th, 2010
2:26 pm

Clearly, this meeting, open to the “concerned” public is a complete and total waste of time. The 400 parents in attendance really had no business being there, for their concerns, rather than being directed “globally”…that is, what’s good for the system…were centered on “what’s good for me”? Upon learning that their neighborhood school(s) was off the list of possible closure, and they would not have to endure the inconvenience of transporting their kids any further than they had to, the Midvale “green shirts” lost all interest in the purpose of the meeting and “split”. This is not at all indicative of citizenship, and is reflective of the selfish “don’t give a damn about other concerns” attitudes so prevailant in our society.

I am thoroughly ashamed of these people who would portend to be concerned citizens when their only concern is “what’s good for me and to hell with the rest”. Perhaps this is why we see so many “closed door” decisions being foisted upon us…the public cannot be trusted to think beyond their own personal desires.

Just wondering...

March 25th, 2010
8:47 pm

I was just wondering…… how are charter schools, funded with tax payer dollars, continuing to be opened yet traditional public schools being closed due to budget problems. If the charter schools are using tax payer money what makes them exempt from the budget cuts that also are using tax payer dollars? The enrollment in the charter schools is far less than the traditional public schools. The public schools have more equipment, supplies, community support and a track record. Just wondering…..

Midvale parent

March 25th, 2010
9:01 pm

@ Ole Guy, Midvale parents left 90 seconds before the meeting was over. In fact, as we were walking down the hall, Meadowview parents were right behind us congratulating us – not angry at all. Given that each of us there has dedicated around 40 hours to this effort over the past 3 weeks (including attendance at 3 task force meetings, 3 budget committee meetings, petitions, flyers, PTA meetings, and Tucker Parent Council meetings), I don’t think 90 seconds was a big deal. It certainly wasn’t a big deal to the task force members, who were happy to speak with us after the meeting was over and express that they were assured that they had made the right decisions that night for the 5 schools that were removed from the list for the same reason as Midvale. It was a big deal to us as we had been working very diligently for weeks on this issue, and we knew from having already attended 3 of these meetings that the meeting was over. We stayed until all business was done. All they did after we left was set the date/agenda for the next meeting. We did not leave right after the public comments, as at least 200 other people did, and we did not pass judgment on them for doing that, either. In addition, our green Midvale group was comprised of students, teachers, parents, and community members from the entire Tucker cluster, including Midvale, Brockett, Smoke Rise, Tucker Middle, and Tucker High. We took it upon ourselves to work as a team and helping each other as our multiple schools appeared on and were eliminated from the list, which is, by definition, not selfish. We are fully in support of a data-driven, educated decision by the task force, and that is what was done. We did not expect a school that is either not in our cluster or does not share the same situation as us (no capacity in surrounding schools) to try to keep us open instead of their school. Because we had already spent so much time at these meetings, the various schools’ leaders are all familiar with each other and our “cases” and shared ideas about organization and publicity. Finally, all of us who are intimately involved in this process are aware that by publicizing the list, the task force and BOE pitted community schools against each other. It is inherently unfair and uncomfortable, but we have reached out and worked as a team when requested and where reasonable. Please educate yourself before hurling insults about a situation you have only observed from a distance and know nothing about.

parent

March 25th, 2010
10:28 pm

@Ole guy: Is it indicative of “citizenship” when statements on blogs are made that for every school in the south that is closed, a school in the north end should be closed as well? You imply that with closure, some students will have their students traveling farther to school, and that parents who left the meeting were only concerned that their students would not have to. How many hours have you spent reviewing the data and driving distances between various schools (including ones not in your own local community)? The data, if you can interpret it, clearly indicated that the students from the schools removed from the list by the task force during this meeting would have had to travel farther than would any students from southern schools because there are no schools open within any reasonable distance to receive them. The DATA also clearly indicate that with such closures, children would have to be split multiple directions.

Why do you “pick on” the families from one particular school? Why do you not “call out” all of the individuals who left the meeting once public comments were over, without bothering to hear how the meeting proceeded, rather than focusing on people wearing a particular color. Did you not notice that individuals from other schools which also were removed from the list left at exactly the same time, determining that staying for additional scheduling of meetings was not a “business item” relevant to the community segment?

You speak as if you know those individuals and their motivations. You make judgements about people without consideration for the fact that they too, like the families who left 45 minutes prior, had children and families to get home to, schoolbags to pack, homework to review, lunches to pack, gas tanks to fill, work to do to prepare for their own jobs. You have no idea, and clearly have not taken the time to meet, many of the parents in that room, from any school, who were touched by the children and the parents and the community members who have so much invested in the children, the schools, and the communities. You have no idea how these individuals spend their spare time and resources giving back not only to their local communities but also to the greater Dekalb and state communities. You have no idea whatsoever, and yet you are willing to throw such a stone.

Ernest

March 25th, 2010
10:48 pm

Just wondering… , you must consider that Independent charter schools fund there buildings and subsequent maintenance. As a result, they typically do not receive the same matching funds for each student.

Ole Guy

March 25th, 2010
10:57 pm

Mid Parent, thanks for the detailed brief. I reacted to Ms. Downey’s fine article with neither prejudice nor malice. Very true, 90 seconds is no big deal; arguements can be generated in all directions as to the very notion that a particular group left, supposedly en mass, prematurely…albiet “only” 90 seconds. Then again, this seemingly irrelevant issue may, in all probability, be just that…irrelevant.

I have no doubt that these decisions, difficult as they are, must be made; I am quite certain you, and people who share your zeal, will always ensure that good choices will always be made.

Please understand that my comments were motivated by an urge to cast neither insult nor aspersion, but rather to recognize what appeared to be a display of self concern veiled as public interest. Please forgive any unintentional injury to your sensibilities.

Midvale parent

March 26th, 2010
12:07 am

Ole Guy, thank you for your response. I should also mention that we also attended the task force meetings en masse even after we were removed from the first list to follow through with keeping tabs on the job that was being done. We were then put on the second list at the next meeting. From a 10,000 foot view, it would have been better to redraw attendance zones before closing schools, but that was not their charge for Phase 1. Again, by publishing the list and pitting formerly neutral or friendly community schools against each other, there will be awkwardness and anger. I hope the task force is able to come to an objective, criteria and data-based decision soon (for the parents, teachers, and students’ sake) and then work to make the closing as positive as possible. At one of the recent budget committee meetings, I urged the school board to work with the task force to do their best to make these closings an opportunity for improvement. It is very possible that the smallest or most underutilized schools have not previously had access to specials like music, art, etc. on a regular basis. By combining with another school, they may find themselves part of a bigger school that offers more for them. We will all be watching carefully.

New Generation

March 26th, 2010
8:27 am

Updated closure list shows 328 seats open at Peachcrest savings of $565,580. This school should be shut down immediately there is not enough property digest income to support a half-capacity school. The students are not receiving as much as they could from a larger school. These students would benefit from these closing. Providing transportation to the nearest nearby school would be recommended. Along with Knowlwood, 311 seats open with savings of $594,090, Sky Haven 300 seats open, $680,970 and Avondale 244 seats with a savings of $570,650. These are the top 4 schools operating undercapacity.

Vince

March 26th, 2010
11:54 am

Why are Laurel Ridge, Medlock and Briar Vista still on the list? They don’t fit the committee’s own criteria. There is not enough capacity at neighboring schools to receive their students if they close.