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Mid-Prairie School Board chose wrong option for elementary schools
To the editor:
The recent Mid-Prairie school board decision to reorganize district school attendance centers throughout the school district is an unfortunate one.. It will surely disrupt the harmony of community life and may create as many problems as it purports to remedy.
Residents in Kalona and Wellman should not have to sacrifice the integrity of their local school attendance centers in order to achieve a politicized solution for inequitable class sizes at the district’s elementary schools. Families that live in town communities should have a reasonable expectation to send their younger children to the local school facility in their immediate place of residence.
Those that choose to live out in rural areas should, in turn, have a corresponding expectation to have their children bused to those same school facilities in nearby communities.. A reasonable and customary arrangement. The Washington Township attendance center in the Mid-Prairie school district has been an exceptional hybrid to this paradigm that has been maintained over many decades. Student populations have changed along with the feasibility of Washington Township as an attendance center. The small class sizes and close proximity are advantages that Washington Township parents understandably want to maintain.
Change is difficult but inevitable sometimes. Class sizes must be more evenly distributed. Painful and inconvenient change that becomes necessary for a smaller population is not required to be equally distributed to all out of some misapplied sense of equanimity.
The recent Mid-Prairie school board decision to bus whole elementary grades to facilities in other district communities is proof of this errant thinking. Busing whole grade levels will be disruptive to the lives of many families in ways that have not been fully appreciated. In a Solomon-like fashion this decision appears to be an attempt to compensate for understandable pain vocalized by many Washington Township parents.
What sense does it make to cause even more distress to the many in one’s regret for impinging upon the few? Certainly not pragmatic politically and not in the best interests of the large majority of families and children that live in Mid-Prairie’s dominant attendance communities. The Mid-Prairie school board has allowed themselves to justify their decision as an attempt to improve services to all students without adequately weighing the human toll to families in Kalona and Wellman. School districts are formed to serve the needs of the people. In this school board decision the people are being forced to adapt to the political expediency of the school district. Naturally, most parents will have no choice but to to accept this decision imposed upon them.
The more negative consequences seem obvious. Just ask any parent who’s child becomes ill at school, or has a medical appointment, or runs a bit late getting to school, or forgets something needed for class . Attending school miles away is not why parents choose to live within the boundaries of communities that have school facilities that are tax supported. This doubtful decision may encourage even more parents to consider home schooling.
Parents of young school age children that reside in Wellman and Kalona will have their daily lives impacted greatly. . I do not think this short sighted experiment will create the kind of upgraded “school culture “ that the school board tries to promote in this action. Many families who might consider a move to our communities will see this as a less desirable quality in our educational enterprise. There are many potential problems in this change not to mention unanticipated kinks in logistics and cost. This recent school board decision is not in the best interest of the students or parents of Mid-Prairie. .