Our Opinion: If not now, when?
We’ve had a day to step back and reflect on Monday evening’s meeting of the Warren County School District board of directors.
We’ve digested the fact that kids will be dropping out of school in droves if they lose their high school bands.
We’ve stomached the fact that roughly one hundred people showed up to fight for their bands.
Only one person stood up to fight about class size and it was a teacher.
We just can’t digest that fact.
Imagine 32 third graders, in a confined space for seven and a half hours a day. Now imagine, trying to get 32 eight-and nine-year-olds accomplishing one common goal, without any of those students stepping out of line or needing help.
You have 32 kids, with 32 different sets of needs, not to mention any students with IEPs.
Let’s illustrate the problem: Use the 2018-2019 third-grade class in the western attendance or fourth grade in the northern attendance area — both classes have 70 kids each or 140 total.
So, does the WCSD have classes of 35 with four teachers, or pay the extra two teachers and have class sizes of 23 kids?
Those are the only options.
That luxury is not possible in the central attendance area, where over 50% of the entire district enrollment – 2,166 student out of 4,312 or 50.23% — is educated. The incoming fourth-grade class at WAEC has 146 students. With four teachers you’re looking at class size of 37 kids. With five teachers, it’s 29. There is no option with six teachers or a class size of 24 kids per class. .
And, as our population and enrollment continues to decline, and our tax base continues to dwindle, school offerings are going to cease to exist. Class sizes are going to increase particularly in the central attendance area.
Extra-curriculars like marching band are going to disappear. If not this year, soon.
It is inevitable.
The Warren County School District can not make emotional decisions.
The WCSD can not make decisions for 11 or 12 kids. It has 4,312 kiddos to consider.
The time for emotional decisions is past. We have four high schools, the retirement system crisis of PSERS created by the state legislature that is not going away any time soon, and a host of other ever-increasing costs.
We can not sustain dividing the vital resources we have as a school district by four any longer.