I can understand the need for a new high school. I mean, a school that’s over 55 years old needs to be updated at least, right?
But at what cost? And is it really for the students or is it just so the town can keep up with the other fancy schools in other nearby towns? To attract more teachers? More students?
Considering the people in charge appear to be trying to rush this thing through without much notice given to most of the townspeople (unless you have a student in the district, chances are you have no clue they are planning on building a new high school), and considering the state of economics in the country right now, I think this whole idea, especially now, is a bad idea. Taxes are going to go through the roof and retiree Joe Smoe is going to be blindsided. Because this whole thing was started with a little known “survey”, a survey that was sent around online and was allegedly answered by not even 200 people.
There are a few things that have “happened” at the school within the past year that raise a few questions in my mind. The pipes conveniently froze this past winter, in a heated school, causing the students to go remote–something the district was strictly against during the height of the pandemic. I also find it interesting to note the principal decided to move on from this high school to another high school after this year. Maybe she saw the writing on the wall.
I can say that a new, improved school is not going to guarantee new, improved teaching. The high school’s “vocational” program is a joke and one that was established only to keep up with the joneses in the other districts. Many of the students from one of the district’s towns already qualify to go to vocational school in another town. Our district offers four “vocational” programs. One of them is environmental science. Sorry. That’s a class I took in seventh grade. Other districts offer 8 to 12 vocational programs, including nursing. Our district offers early childhood as a vocational program. And with their new school, their intention is to have pre-schoolers on the grounds for the early education vocation students to teach. Really? If I were a parent, I don’t think I’d want my 3 or 4 year old being taught by a 16 year old who may or may not actually want to be a teacher. And recent statistics show a drop in people wanting to become teachers, due in part to school shootings and union crap. Seriously, I’d rather learn how to dig up rocks with the environmental science crew. That is. when the teacher is there. Because I can attest to my student’s freshman year and how the class was taught more by the vice-principal than the actual teacher. Because she was never there!
And along with their new school they better think long and hard about how they are going to treat and teach their special needs students. Not brush them aside when the student tells them they want to do school remotely, then tell the student and their parents to find a remote school, which there are none so then the parents are forced to homeschool the student. Because the school was not willing to work with the student, understand the student and their needs and figure out how to make it work. Then the school is so stupid, because once the student leaves the district to homeschool (and eventually quits school), they never remove the student or their parents from their email list. So all year long we got emails from the principal about how bathroom privileges were being taken away and cell phones had to be locked up and how there was a lockdown at the school due to a bomb threat, how she was leaving the district for another school, etc. And of course that’s how we learned about the “frozen pipes”.
So when it comes time in September to vote for this “new” school, even including the fraction of state help that is allegedly being provided, I’m voting NO. Taxes aside, because I’m already paying higher taxes from the elementary school that was built in my town 20 years ago. It’s because an improved building isn’t going to improve the education of students. It takes much more than that. And if the district hasn’t figured that out by now, they never will. New school or not.