Does community need new school?

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 20, 2006

To the Editor:

“A new school will solve our educational problems.”

That seems to be the justification used by those who are pushing this $40 million to $60 million project.

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There are many facets of our community that come into play as this new school picture is being painted.

In talking to many counselors and teachers and asking what the most pressing problem is in our educational system, they overwhelmingly say discipline.

Not only the disregard for the school-directed behavior, but the behavior of the parents when they are called because of the child’s conduct.Listen to the stories that the counselors and teachers relate to their experiences in the performance of their responsibilities.

This problem cannot be solved by a new school. No one should attempt to reward bad or inappropriate behavior.

A person on the radio stated that we sent our children to a substandard school building and then we wonder why our children have questionable attitudes.

School attitudes are not caused or formed by a building. Attitudes of discipline are formed, for the most part, before the children are ever introduced into the school system, usually by family and friends.

These attitudes are further aggravated by the lack of discipline.

The adage of people thinking that they do not own property so an increase in property taxes won’t affect them is untrue. Even for those who rent, a raise in taxes will be passed to you by the owner. Over 30 percent poverty in our city at this time dictates that this will add an additional burden to that sector of our community.

There are two major reasons to vacate a school building, that is when its condition threatens the safety and security of our children or when it does not meet the educational requirements set by the State Board of Education. Are we causing suffering to our children in either respect?

ACT scores are up and the drop-out rate is down. The city school system must be doing something positive with the resources they have. Yes, repairs are needed, estimated by some at approximately $3 million. This is 1/20th of the expense of a new school.

Another facet of this new school is the political picture. The subject of a school did not surface until a specific “plan” for the land purchase was needed by those who had consented to finance it.

Keep in mind, once the land is purchased, the mayor and council can change, at any time, the plan the land will be used for.

The decision for a new school will have a tremendous impact on the financial posture of the ordinary taxpaying citizen.

Will a new school and its benefits outweigh the financial burdens that will be placed on this city of 19,500 people and one that has a poverty level of over 30 percent? Do we need a new school?

Let’s think this through very carefully.

Gene Hisel