Cooperation is a better solution
To the editor:
Given the difficult financial times, school districts across the state are facing many challenges.
Some urban legislators are starting to advocate school consolidation as a potential solution without understanding the effect on rural communities.
Consolidation is not a blanket solution to saving money. Many districts being consolidated find themselves having to build new buildings to accommodate students and increase taxes on local communities to accommodate changes.
Consolidation creates winners and losers and is the kiss of death for the community losing a school. It also results in deepening the economic divide in the county and inequity in tax evaluation across the county. Is this good for a county?
A better approach would be to talk about how schools across the county can cooperate with one another to better provide services to our students with the limited resources we have while retaining our unique community identities, which helps to keep our schools and communities strong.
Cooperation creates a win-win situation. There is much that our five school districts across the county could do to cooperate in sharing programs and staff. But cooperation is also good for our communities. Does our county have a plan for improving communication and cooperation between our county commissioners, city councils, and county leaders to enhance the economic vitality of the county at large?
Do we have a countywide economic plan creating a win-win situation across the county?
Goessel is the only school district in Marion County this year to experience an enrollment increase. I know from talking to families moving here that they are coming for the quality of life and educational opportunities.
Wouldn’t it be great if, some year soon, a countywide plan could create a situation where every district across this county could claim an enrollment increase? Can you imagine the economic benefit to the entire county? It will take cooperation at all levels with this win-win attitude across the county to create a plan to make this happen.
Dr. John Fast
Goessel USD 411 Superintendent/Elementary School Principal