To the editor:
Many in Lawrence may quietly (or not so quietly) rejoice at the apparent demise of Grant School. I think it is sad.
I recall a west side woman who pointedly said she would refuse to vote for me because I refused to say I would close a school on the east side of Lawrence. She claimed Lawrence needed to "grow up" and realize it wasn't a "little town" anymore. (Her family had come from Tulsa where kids were bused someplace if their local schools weren't "large enough.") How sad that she and her neighbors continue to divide Lawrence into west and east.
I make a few observations for her and her friends who will apparently rejoice at the closing of an east side school. There is NO other school in the district where parents, grandparents and non-parents are more actively involved in the life and future of the students' education. PTAs should have taken field trips to Grant Pie Night and other Grant community events to find out what community involvement in a school can really be when people care about the kids in their neighborhood more than the money in their pockets.
No amount of west side money can buy the kind of community involvement and support that comes from intergenerational, school-based events that send a clear message to students of all ages that school is very important to them, their parents, and their grandparents. We're not talking about showing up for the cute concert night. We're talking about the school as the center of community life, the identity of who the neighbors are and the neighborhood IS.
Other schools on the east side of Lawrence have similar intimate relationships between the school and the neighborhood, but none of them comes close to Grant. If the parents remaining at Grant school think it is time to close the school because their children can get a better education at Woodlawn or other schools, then the time has come to close Grant. What a sad loss for social capital, and what a lost lesson on community for the city of Lawrence.