To the editor:
Parents and children in elementary schools are facing difficult problems, again, in USD 497. As an active member of the SOS Committee last year, I enthusiastically observed widespread support for saving our neighborhood schools. The last school board election proved the depth and breadth of this community's commitment to preserving and maintaining our elementary schools.
Scott Morgan's recent letter to the editor deserves recognition; he is directly on point when it comes to building one or more new elementary schools. I cannot speak on behalf of any other SOS Committee member or supporter, but I believe that the large majority of voters in this community not only opposed closing any elementary schools, but also supported building more small neighborhood elementary schools, if they are responsibly planned and financed.
I believe the benefits of small neighborhood schools should be a clear and permanent policy statement within our school district. It is obvious that the dramatic residential growth on the west side of town requires new elementary schools for these new neighborhoods. This is not an east-west or north-south argument. This is sound education policy and planning which all children and parents deserve in our school district. At this time of economic prosperity and growth, there is no legitimate reason why we do not support fundamental education and commence to build one or two new elementary schools while preserving our existing ones. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. I am confident that the school board will find overwhelming support to fund such projects, if they are well planned.
The board deserves approval for its efforts to address current capacity issues. These suggestions, however, do not solve our long-term problems and solutions. A responsive administration and school boards should demonstrate some leadership and long-term planning. We should begin the process to build new elementary schools NOW!
1976 E. 1600 Rd.