Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Questions on realigning Indiana schools

on October 24, 2013 11:00 AM

The Indiana Area School District superintendent has recommended school realignment under either the K-3/4-5 plan or a possible partnering of Horace Mann with Eisenhower school for realignment of just those two schools while Ben Franklin and East Pike would retain their current configurations.

Why introduce a “marriage” of only two school buildings? Cynical answer: divide and conquer.

The population of parents with elementary-age children made their adamant opposition to realignment clear at the previous week’s Academic Committee meeting. By (temporarily) pardoning Ben Franklin and East Pike from the sentence of realignment, IASD reduces overall opposition to realignment and can force the issue through with much less fanfare.

Now, a “marriage” of these two schools would reduce the amount of total disruption for our community’s elementary school children. This plan would reduce a class size “bubble” for at least one current grade level and thereby eliminates the costs of one teaching position.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t address bubble issues across either of the other two elementary schools. Hence in future years of budget cuts, parents in those schools may face realignment with no one left to fight alongside them, because they chose to abandon the other half of the IASD elementary parents this year.

If minimizing total disruptions is truly the goal, then IASD could deal with class size issues on a family-by-family basis. Other districts implement student registration deadlines; some districts have designated “swing” areas. If it’s OK to force all families into a realignment plan with children in different elementary grades attending different buildings, then it should be OK for just a few families. If it’s OK to force all families into a realignment plan with children attending schools farther away, then it should be OK for just a few families.

This saves expenses of having virtually every elementary teacher move classrooms and/or buildings. This achieves the desired cost savings of leveling class sizes across buildings with the fewest student disruptions. This eliminates potentially harmful transitions that realignment will bring.

If such a world isn’t OK for a few families, then it shouldn’t be OK for either half or all IASD families.

Stephanie Jozefowicz


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