The Warren County School District has tough decisions ahead. Much of what we have heard regarding cuts and the possibility of an additional charter school in the District is devastating to the direct services of our children. The children are what matter, right?
I am writing as a concerned parent, I have a son in kindergarten at South Street and a son who is 3 years old. Right now, we need everyone to think about the people in this entire community, especially the children. We need to come together as "four communities, for solutions, for schools, for our children."
We have heard a lot about buildings costs, transportation costs, employee costs, program cuts, and splitting a teacher or counselor in parts among many schools. What we haven't heard is how this affects the children in our communities. First, the people who work with our children are people, not positions. These people serve our community, providing direct services to our children. Teacher, principal, and counselor cuts are determined by seniority in the entire district, not by the building. For example, let's say 9 secondary English teachers are being cut in the district from 3 buildings. The nine individuals with the least amount of experience across the District are eliminated. These nine teachers work at Sheffield, Warren, Youngsville and Eisenhower; however, the actual positions being cut occur at Warren High (5), Youngsville (3), and Eisenhower (1). The next nine secondary English teachers with the least amount of experience may be "bumped" out of their schools by more senior teachers who have been displaced from their own positions. Ultimately, no one knows where everyone will end up.
Many cuts will occur this year, but the cuts required by the adoption of a charter school will have devastating effects on our schools and our community. If Eisenhower becomes a charter school, an additional 40 faculty/staff will be moved out of positions or furloughed to make room for those teachers,counselors, and principals leaving Eisenhower. If you don't think an Eisenhower charter school will affect the Youngsville, Warren and Sheffield communities, think again.
On top of the already $5/6 million dollar deficit the District faces, a charter school will increase the debt by $1.06-2 million (according to the charter /Board meeting I attend on Monday March 26, 2012). Clearly, as Art Stewart said, "this additional cost will come on the backs of the approximately 4,500 students in the school district for approximately 500 students." This would lead to additional cuts, beyond the 40 displaced teachers from Eisenhower, so that the additional debt by the charter school can be covered.
The superintendent of the Warren County School District has proposed a plan for a K-12 school for Sheffield and for Eisenhower. This plan moves the District forward as a community, a solution many in the communities are very happy with.
Secondly it needs to be known that the district or administration have never recommended Eisenhower or Sheffield be closed. For the first time in the history of the Warren County School District a board member Thomas Knapp from region III, ( the northern attendance area), made a motion to close Eisenhower. Why? The intension in no way was to close Eisenhower or Sheffield; rather it is to consolidate buildings so that each community has an educational facility built for the future.
Transition may not be easy, but it is necessary in order to continue providing an excellent education for all students across the District. Transition is also necessary to drive down the overall debt so that we do not have to continue to sacrifice direct services, electives, opportunities, and sports for our children.
The education of our children takes precedence over regionalism and cost. Truly Mr. Hufnagel's plan sacrifices neither, it gives us the best of both worlds, giving each region a educational facility built for the future while driving down the overall debt and costs...closing old costly buildings and obtaining the Qzab loans at 0% Interest moves us into the future! "Four communities, for solutions, for schools, for our children!"