|Believes Pines plan would close schools|
Letter to the Editor:
For the people who did not attend the meeting at the St. Germain School last Wednesday night, you may not have heard of the two-step program the school board and Northland Pines District Administrator Mike Richie has come out with.
They would like to start sending fifth-graders from St. Germain and Land O’ Lakes elementary schools to the Eagle River Elementary School. This is the first step in a two-step program they want to implement.It sounds good in this part of the program until you hear about the rest of the plan in which Richie said that the fifth-graders from St. Germain and Land O’ Lakes would have more learning opportunities in?Eagle River. We should have the same opportunities now because we are in the same district.
The next step is then moving the seventh and eighth grades to Northland Pines High School, so there will be grades seven through 12 in one school. That means there will be children as young as 11 years old going to school with children as old as 20 years old, unsupervised most of the time, because with 500 students the staff cannot see everything all the time.
With today’s peer pressure and kids trying to fit in with the rest of the crowd, is this really the best thing for our children? Richie said when parents expressed their concern, “There is no plan in place. The teachers stand outside their classroom door and watch as students pass in the halls.”
Also, there is a third part of the program that no one is talking about. Mr. Richie really didn’t deny or confirm it. He said if the schools’ enrollment stays the same, they will keep St. Germain and Land O’ Lakes elementary schools open, but he is already taking the fifth grades out of those schools, dropping the enrollment.
Richie is moving seventh and eighth grades to the high school to fill up a school that was built too big for the community. He has to fill the high school to show it was not money wasted. By moving seventh and eighth grades, that empties out the middle school and elementary schools for the closing of St. Germain and Land O’ Lakes.
People are in favor of this because, according to Richie, it will save the taxpayers $300,000 each year. The school budget is $25 million a year. He is going to save $300,000 because of less teachers, but there is going to be more busing costs unless our fifth- through eighth-graders are riding the high school buses.
How many parents are going to take their children out of Northland Pines School District? Some will go to Lakeland, home school, online school, private school or move away.
Because lots of people (like myself) want our children in a smaller community-based school, it is one of the reasons we live here. I am also giving the newspaper the handout I?was given at Wednesday’s night meeting. The numbers Richie put on paper of the students moving from seventh and eighth grade to the high school almost equalled the number of students left before moving the fifth-grade class. So it does add up to the conclusion of the closing of St. Germain and Land O’ Lakes public schools.
Of course, this cannot be said from Richie because the school referendum still has two years left. But when that is done, I think we will be losing our school and sense of community.
|Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:42 AM|