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Clark or Kissinger? That is the questionPosted Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at 9:23 AM
Much debate has come over the past couple of years of whether to close Kissinger Elementary or take classes out of Clark Elementary. Now that the question has become "the great debate" parents, teachers, students and community members have been forced to take a close look at the issue.
Logically, it makes sense to close Kissinger, you have less students attending and you have more traveling expenses then you do with Clark. But other than the logic, every road points to keeping Kissinger open, even if it means taking classes out of Clark. It is by no means an easy decision for the LCS school board to make, and nor should it be, because it will affect everyone in the LCS district, not just Clark or Kissinger families.
From the comments posted on the Daily Sentinel website, it seems like the general consensus around Le Mars is an enthusiastic, "CLOSE KISSINGER!" The main reasons? For the logical reasons listed above and it would be a major inconvience for parents to send their children down there because it's SO far away and then their children would have to ride the bus and that just's one more hassle.
Down south in Merrill, they're worried about their kids assimilating with the Le Mars group, the bussing, their property taxes and values, class sizes and well, their town. Can it survive without a school?
One thing that parents at all of LCS elementary families should be thinking right now is, "What would I feel like if I were in the other one's shoes?" I believe most people's thoughts would be, "It can't be my school, so it has to be the other one!" As we get older, whether we'd like to admit it or not, we are less open to change, myself included. However this question cannot be avoided any longer and there is a long list of pros and cons on every elementary and school in LCS.
Losing any one of these schools is like losing an identity. You can no longer say, "I went to this school" because it's not there. You can't call it, you can't mail something to it, it's gone, pure and simple gone. In twenty years the kids that will be part of LCS will wonder why all these people talk about going to Merrill to school. However, it is easy to write off a school if you were never affiliated with it.
The matter gets further complicated because this is just not any school they're thinking about cutting, it's the only one that lies outside the town of Le Mars. The city of Merrill has recently begun to grow and get back on the map, but removal of the school could help collapse the fragile economy that is there.
City of Merrill aside, there is also the housing of the special needs children at this school. Some of these kids depend on schedules and conformity and moving them to a totally different bigger school with different kids (most of them will move to Kluckhohn, in the proposal) may upset the balance they have come to known. I'm sure they will take longer to adjust to it then the other kids that will be transferred.
On the other side though you have ESL students at Clark that with less classes may not get all the help they need because there's more students and less teachers. And some of their kids are moving to other schools because of classes being taken out too. And then you also have empty classrooms (which are now being used for other purposes according to Mr. Horken).
In the end it is up to us parents to convince our children, whether we agree with the school board or not, that the school they will be going to next year is a great school. If we let our disagreements show to our children they may not assimilate as well as they should. What the school board needs to do is have the parents of any school visit each facility to assure them that they all have families, fun and learning. Have the PTO's meet together, have the kids tour the schools before next year, basically unite instead of divide.
So please, the next time you think about this decision, do not be so hasty, be open for change, and just remember, "What would you do if you were in the other schools shoes?"
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I started blogging about my fun experiencing parenthood and have found it has evolved into more than just parenting - its an observation of life as we know it. I'm a bystander in this country just as we all are, and sometimes, opinions just need to be said without fear of being burnt at the stake.