To The Editor:
Does the data support the marketing plan?
I would like to compliment the Washington School District on its marketing approach to passing a tax increase on to all the residential, commercial and industrial real estate and personal property owners.
A demographic study was completed in 2011 (137 pages), at the request of the school district, which states, “A slight rebalancing of the enrollment through adjusting attendance lines would help with elementary school issues”; “just redrawing the boundary lines slightly could rebalance the enrollment at the elementary schools to ease whatever crowding issues might cropup.”
Instead we get trailers and the reasoning that changing boundary lines would require longer bus rides and larger transportation costs. Really taking all of the sixth- to eighth-grade students four miles east of the central location in Washington, to the new campus on St. John’s Road isn’t going to affect many more students with longer bus rides?
Larger transportation costs are not only going to be for the school district but the families. They will be closing elementary schools which are now handy to their neighborhoods and possibly closing the smaller schools because they have taken away their sixth grade; Labadie had only 107 students in 2012.
According to DESE, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, except for South Point (+ seven students), Washington West (+ six) and Campbellton (+ three), the elementary schools, middle school and high school decreased in attendance in 2012. The district was down nearly 100 students from the previous year’s enrollment. There were only 88 pre-k students district wide in 2012.
Many of the taxpayers don’t have school-age children. Thirty-two percent (32) send their children to private schools, homeschool or other public schools. They will be paying even more for a system they don’t access. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a decrease in Franklin County’s population for 2012.
Schools are the heart of every community. Technology and updating existing school buildings is obviously necessary. We have great teachers! Let’s follow the demographic study, adjust attendance lines, get rid of trailers and use the space we already have available.
Please reference the Washington School District website for the demographic study, DESE website and U.S. Census article in the Weekend Missourian March 16-17.
Editor’s Note: Name withheld per request.