While the two high concept merits discussion I can not accept your proposal for the following reasons:
1. Your assumption that Central should be the school that should close. I fair discussion of the issue may lead to the need to close a high school but there are reasons to close or keep open any of the schools. If you were really bold you would have suggested that East close.
2. I believe that a high school program should be grades 9-12.
3. Some of the cost savings outlined by administration do not seem real for example reduction in the number of conselors.
4. Large high schools create many problems for kids.
Here's my viewpoint.
<<While the two high concept merits discussion I can not accept your proposal for the following reasons:
1. Your assumption that Central should be the school that should close. I fair discussion of the issue may lead to the need to close a high school but there are reasons to close or keep open any of the schools. If you were really bold you would have suggested that East close.>>
Actually M, I've made a strong case for closing East. I pointed out that Central is a better campus with room to expand and a great central location that can be reached easily by our many kids with vehicles and that it is a newer building. Very few people have disagreed with me. In fact, some East Duluthians have been persuaded that it makes the most sense to keep Central open rather than East.
We have too many buildings and some must be closed. We evidently don't have too many elementary schools because the Administration keeps telling me they don't have enough room to take back the sixth graders. We couldn't even take back the Edison students. So why are we closing elementary schools rather than secondary schools? Because the Administration thinks its less controversial and because the Administration wants to reap the financial benefits of having bigger elementary school populations. They are so eager to do this they are even willing to lose some students from unhappy families to get those cost efficiencies into place.
Its possible that the reason my two high school plan hasn't taken off is because people just can't imagine I'm serious about closing East High School. I've wrestled with the issue and it occurred to me that the reason that Central should be the one to cease operations as a high school is mostly psychological. It is this. To divide the highschool population equally into two 10-12 schools the boundary line needs to be drawn at roughly 6th Avenue east. Imagine trying to take kids from that area to Denfeld past Central. I think it would be very hard to politically create two equal sized high school populations if we try to make the schools Denfeld and Central. It might make the most sense from the standpoint of facilities but I just don't think people would accept it.
So, if we can only afford two highschools one will have to close. We should consider the overall needs of the district and choose to close the building that would help us meet all our needs. Converting Central to a middle school would allow us to meet some important needs. To wit: We would no longer need 5 junior high facilities. Morgan Park, Lincoln, Central, Woodland, Ordean. Instead we could have three evenly spaced middle schools throughout the city - Morgan Park, Central and Ordean.
This would consolidate the middle school population and give us maximum efficiency of staff use. It would give the central part of town its long dreamed of middle school. It would avoid sending Piedmont and West End kids to Morgan Park. It would allow us to close one elementary school, Chester Park and make Woodland its replacement keeping the Lab School in operation which would also have the following positive effect. The Administration could relocate out of the CAB (to be moved to Woodland) and in the future Woodland could take on additional elementary children if we choose to make our elementary schools bigger and thus more efficient and cost effective. My plan would also let us keep all the elementary schools in place thus preventing the possible exodus of many disgruntled families from our schools and furthering the loss of enrollment.
<<2. I believe that a high school program should be grades 9-12.>> Why? Is there some magic about that configuration? I don't think so, especially if it gets in the way of organizing our school district intelligently.
<< 3. Some of the cost savings outlined by administration do not seem real for
example reduction in the number of conselors.>> Remember, my plan is not the one favored by the Administration. I think its fair to say that Mr. Almanza and a majority of the School Board members are chagrined with my latest proposal and that they want to keep Central a
9-12 just like you do. I disagree with the three corridor plan but I trust the financial logic even if we can second guess some of the details. I just think my plan is even more logical and probably more cost efficient.
<<4. Large high schools create many problems for kids.>> True, but if our finances won't allow us to keep three high school we must make the best of the situation. In fact, I have a particular objection with the plan to keep three high schools in the three corridor plan. Three corridors separates our district into three non overlapping regions and further isolates a town that is already notoriously territorial. My plan mixes the school populations and keeps different parts of the city's children in contact with each other over their years in school. I also am perturbed, especially after hearing so many east enders complain about "their children" having to go to school with "those children," that under the Administration's plan East high school would remain an all-white highschool for the foreseeable future. I think that is particularly unhealthy.
There are other reasons that I think my plan is superior but I've got to wash my walls in preparation for painting them and I have all summer to make my case. Keep an ear out for my arguments.