Letter to the editor: Closing a school beyond reasoning?
The summer 2014 issue of the IASD Indiana Reporter has been published and distributed, and, if they believe their reasoning for not moving the fifth grade and closing a school makes sense, it doesn’t to me.
We moved sixth grade in September 2011 to the junior high building, but also moved out ninth grade so the enrollment of the junior high remained virtually the same — only about 60 percent of the building’s capacity and this the largest and most recently renovated building in the district.
The Reporter states that we cannot move the fifth grade because “(it) would fit into the junior high but not without significant changes to the instructional program and staffing for middle school concept.”
Weigh this statement, taxpayers, against spending $1 million of your dollars to keep open an unnecessary elementary school. This says that 650 students is fine, but 850 students in a 1,200-student school is a cause not to do it, and you just keep anteing up your $1 million each year.
How does our middle school program rate with middle schools from central and eastern Pennsylvania, where most middle schools are located? How does it compare with 45 districts that have fifth- to eighth-grade middle schools? Do they all have buildings larger than 1,200 students? I doubt it.
A 4 mill (approximately $1 million) reduction in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 (your latest tax bill) would have meant more than $300 less in taxes for any payer with a $20,000 assessment — more for greater assessments, less for lesser assessments. And 4 mills less in each of the four years would have a present day millage of 92.22, not 108.22.
Obviously the district’s class size of 20 for K to 3 will allow these grades to use Ben Franklin and East Pike. Guess what? At 25 per room for fourth and fifth, Eisenhower with 18 classrooms would hold a 450 enrollment and fourth and fifth will have about 415 this year combined. This shows we could close a school without moving fifth grade. But the board loves that $1 million in taxes it costs to keep open an elementary. I do not believe this board would have closed Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School (now Euhler Hall, IUP) despite the benefits to all for the closing. This just seems to be against the board’s nature.
William S. Balint Jr.