Carol Gray: Why I’m voting no

Reposted with permission from an individual email by Carol Gray:

Regarding the school issue, here’s why I am voting No:

1) This is not the only plan, or the best plan, or even the second or third best plan. During a survey of parents and teachers in 2016, there were four plans presented and this one we’re voting on now was ranked as preferred by only 6% of parents and 4% of teachers. Many people have been left with the misimpression that it is this plan or none at all. Let’s leave behind the scare tactics and hold out for a plan that won’t leave us with a bitterly divided community. (See more info. about the numbers attached.)

2) Bad timing: We’re looking for a new superintendent and two new principals. Could there be a worse time to start a multi-million dollar project with a divided town?

3) This project is very expensive! The national (2012) average cost/per/square/foot for elementary school construction was $211.55. This plan’s square foot cost is :$441.00
We need better/new schools but we don’t need the most expensive schools that this state grant has ever funded (which this current plan would be).

4) We shouldn’t lose K-6 schools. There’s a reason why the norm for primary education is K-6: it works! Creating a transition so kids would have to go to a new school for the second grade is bad for kids. Plus, our son loves the Book Buddy program where 6th graders read with kindergartners. Our schools thought they were being cutting edge 50 years ago, breaking from the pack to create open floor plan classrooms. It turned out it would have been better to stay with the pack and have regular walls. Let’s not branch out again with a K-1 and 2-6 school system only to find some years down the road that there was good reason to stay with the K-6 model.

5) Small neighborhood schools are better for the community. Our friends have developed through our neighborhood school. I would hate for our son to go to a location that has twice the number of kids compared to Fort River. Plus I would hate to lose Fort River. It’s been a great school for us plus it has the best fields of any school. I can’t imagine packing twice the number of kids on half the open space of Wildwood’s already small playground area. Also, as an economic point, I read about a study that said when neighborhood schools closed down, property values went down about 10-12%. The town already shut down Marks Meadows a long time back; let’s not now shut down Fort River, another fine school. Sure, it needs to be modernized or rebuilt, but that can happen without abandoning the site. (If you build the new Wildwood next to the old Wildwood, you could put the Fort River kids in the old Wildwood while the new Fort River is being built.)

I hope you’ll vote No so the building committee can get to work on the next school plan, hopefully one that keeps our small neighborhood K-6 schools in our neighborhoods.


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