I have continued to read the updates regarding decisions with the Warren County School District and its future. I am left baffled with where the priorities are lying and the only people that have to make scarifies are the children of Warren County.
Decisions appear to be made immediately, without thinking of the future. By taking away courses, changing a curriculum that has given Beaty recognition for their success, and especially classrooms filled with 30 early elementary students make Warren County School District appear as though our community does not hold education as a top priority. We have become budget based oriented and not what is best for our children's education and future.
But on that same note, if Warren County School Board is so concerned with the Budget where is their sacrifice in all of this. As I read in today's Warren Times Observer, it states that the costs of moving 14 air conditioner units would be $8,800, constructing cubicles would cost about $29,000, full height offices $11,200 and carpet to deaden the noise would be the "big ticket item" at $46,000. Are you kidding me?! This amount of money would pay the wage for another teacher to benefit the children for at least another year as well as an aid but yet we want to cushion central office space so they won't be hot or have noise issues? Sorry for my sarcasm but I find this very unsettling.
After reading several studies regarding class size, it is obvious that the School Board has no regards to what is important and in the best interest of kindergarten or first grade students. " A study published by the American Educational Research Association found that significantly smaller class sizes, from 13 to 17 students, at an early age-kindergarten or first grade-led to statistically significant benefits for the children involved. Both reading and math skills ranked higher than for those in a standard-size class of 22 to 26 students. These results were not noted when classes were reduced by only a few students, such as lowering class size from 25 to 21. According to research compiled by Edith Helmich and Leighton Wasem, for the Illinois State Board of Education, class sizes need to be below 20 to show any significant benefits to reduced load. It is no wonder many parents are pulling from the Warren County School District and taking their kids to private schools. Private schools are hiring more teachers to uphold the above study and offer kids the benefits of smaller classes.
All of these decisions that are being made in haste, although in January everyone knows a budget needs to be met by June, have a ripple effect. Not only on the children of Warren County, but the poor quality of education being offered makes it less desirable for business or new families to move to the County which in turn makes for a shrinking tax base. It is a vicious circle that needs to stop.
Kimberly Lane Corey