Thursday, February 25, 2010

#210: Save Our Schools

Like a lot of the country lately, Kansas has been hit pretty hard by a budget crunch. So much so that our state government is unable to pay school districts the money required to keep running so a lot of belt-tightening has to be done. The Lawrence School District is having to somehow come up with $5.5 million in order to keep things going. The problem? We don't have that money. At least, they say they don't have the money. So things have been cut, schools are going without but there's still roughly $4 million that needs to be found so an idea was brought up that results in closing schools.

Originally, those schools were to be New York Elementary and Cordley, currently the two oldest schools being used in Lawrence. I don't condone closing any school because I feel that's more of a drastic measure than a viable solution but I definitely against closing New York because it's Lawrence's oldest school and it's very unique. It features a white cupola which is something the other school lack. It has character and it serves a good portion of East Lawrence. I was willing to accept Cordley's closure because Cordley, built in 1911, has outlived its usefulness. There is no room for Cordley to grow and in order to keep Cordley open in 2003, the district had to close a perfectly viable school with plenty of room to grow just a few blocks away.

Now things have changed. Apparently the parents of New York and Cordley have spoke up and school closings have moved to other schools, namely Sunset Hill and Wakarusa Valley. Sunset Hill is the school my son goes to so, of course, I am against them closing it. But, again, I'm against closing any school. Wakarusa Valley is located out in the country and so has a lot of rural students that would now have to be bussed several miles into Lawrence to go to school at possibly Sunflower or Broken Arrow which are the closest schools to that area. I don't exactly see how busing those children and wasting that gas would be feasible. Not to mention the wear and tear on the buses because of the gravel roads.

The main reason for me is my son's stability. Before the age of 5, he had lived in no fewer than 19 different places along the Kansas-Missouri border because his mom was unable to keep a place for a long-term period. When she finally got settled in Lawrence and was able to stay he went to Kindergarten at Sunflower but then I got custody of him so his school changed to Sunset Hill. When I moved in with my wife, I specifically wanted a house in the Sunset Hill neighborhood so he wouldn't have to change schools. I know it may sound stupid but that is my reason.

So while closing Sunset Hill was the suggestion of one board member (who I won't be voting for in the next election) and nothing is final, I plan on getting more involved and helping out where I can so I can make sure that no schools are closed down.

Until next time, I remain...