Subj: Re: two high schools
Date: 2/28/01 4:13:19 PM Central Standard Time
From: A1Snowman

In a message dated 2/28/01 3:30:33 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Hi Harry: I understand that you brought up the idea of only two high
schools last night and was told not to go there. Do you know why? I
had sent Julio the same plan with making Central a middle school instead of Lowell and having a separate wing for ninth graders up there. Was an agreement made somewhere? Please help me out if you have any information. Thanks, Kris

My Reply

Hi Kris,

No one told me not to go there. No one could stop me. The truth is no other Board member wanted to pursue the idea. I was all by myself in midair like Wiley Coyote after he runs off a cliff.

Because of the possibility of the Governor's budget passing, along with all our other longstanding problems, the Board and Administration have been pressed to act more swiftly with our long range planning than any of us had originally intended. 

I've dropped hints for some time that if we had to close facilities (and we do) that we might be better off looking at secondary closings. I was reminded by my colleagues last night that we had already established our list of priorities. We've been calling them assumptions. Its a list of do's and don't's. We gave it to the Administration and told them to come up with a plan that fit the assumptions. Among the assumptions was one keeping three 9-12 high schools. Another laid out K-5 elementary schools and 6-8 middle schools. I don't agree with all the priorities but but I was just one voice out of nine. For instance, I'm not convinced that small classrooms are necessarily as critical as the Board as a whole and I would be willing to sacrifice the elementary specialists. As for two high schools.....well, previous Boards have fallen on their swords over that idea so I don't blame my colleagues for shying away from that consideration.

The plan we are considering has some stunning positives but if I had the money I'd keep our current arrangement. We don't have, and never will have, the money to keep the status quo. As I told the Board last night I don't expect to see a loud, vocal, two-highschool lobby developing. Short of that, I see little value in beating up the Board or Administration for coming up with a rational plan that unfortunately happens to involve closing 5 elementary schools.

There was nothing sneaky or secretive about this process. Its just that no one was watching and, when we got close to coming up with a final plan, the Governor's budget hit the news and our options and timeline evaporated. 

That's how I see the story anyway.