Monday, June 1, 2015

Closing schools doesn't make sense

The following letter to the editor by Bill Whittaker appeared in the June 2 Press-Citizen:

I agree with Chris Liebig’s May 13 guest opinion on the issue of school closures.

There seems to be an increasing divide between the public and the administrators who run this school district. The elected school board is supposed to make the policy decisions, but they often seem to be taking their directions from the administrators, instead of the other way around.

In 2013, the school district held several community workshops to develop a facilities plan. Hundreds of people spent hours attending those workshops. Each time, a wide majority of the participants were against closing any schools. The school board voted to close Hoover anyway. This year, the administration floated even more closure proposals.

Why have so many school closures been proposed at all? One of the main reasons for the facilities plan was to reduce overcrowding and make room for growing enrollment. Why close schools when enrollment is growing? But the administrators seem determined to close schools and convert others into 600-student mega-schools, whether the public wants it or not.

Now it’s two years later and the district still can’t (or won’t) say what it plans to do with the Hoover property that it claimed to “need.”

It’s time to put the community back into the Iowa City Community School District. If the school board won’t stand up for the community, then we need to elect new board members who will.

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