Difficult choices ahead for board
I read Tuesday's article "Residents: Keep Lincoln Open" with interest. Yes, this is a difficult issue for the School Board, and of course I encourage all to vote yes on measure 30. What I also want the school board to consider is that currently Helman elementary school is at 105 percent of capacity and the other elementary schools are at 60 percent to 80 percent of their capacity.
Clearly this inequity of numbers can not last one more year. If the board finds it necessary to close Lincoln; then I imagine all the schools will be at 100 percent or close to capacity and the distribution of students will be equal or fair.
However if the board keeps Lincoln open, I would then want the board to consider how to redistribute students so all schools will be at a similar percent. This would mean two things - committing to keeping Lincoln open for many many years (deciding each year the fate of a school is not healthy), and redrawing the district boundaries. The boundary part will be difficult; Briscoe kids were promised they would not be bumped twice. The current district boundary is "set up" for a Lincoln closure. Therefore if Lincoln remains open they must be redrawn so each school is at 60 to 70 percent of capacity. This would only be fair, and can not be achieved by dropping enrollment.
I like the idea of small schools; I was shocked when Briscoe closed. I would love to see it reopen and then we could have five schools with small enrollments. It would be great to incorporate Willow Wind or rent out parts of each of the five schools to keep them open; the board turned down that idea last year.
What was missing in Tuesday's article is whatever the school board decides in regard to Lincoln, it will be a difficult decision. To close and have all the remaining schools near capacity, or to keep open and then equalize the students.