Save Ridgefield and Vernondale Millcreek Elementary Schools
This is a petition for the Millcreek School District to hold a special meeting for a new proposed budget, and that the schools not be closed while options are reviewed for revenue, including selling the ed center and any properties Millcreek School District owns to raise revenue to save Vernondale and Ridgefield Elemenetary schools.
As each day passes and the last day of school for Ridgefield and Vernondale approaches I become more fearful that this is a mistake. I do know that reversing a vote is not easy, and that school administration has already begun transition plans. I appreciate the work that is being done to transition our students, but still believe that there is not enough time get this done right.
Has thought been given to who is moving the contents of the schools or setting up the new classrooms with proper supplies? Are you hiring a company to box up Ridgefield and Vernondale and distribute the contents to the other schools? Teachers do not work much pass the students last day of school, and they only get a couple days before the first day to make their classrooms like a second home for students. Who is doing the moving? Is the expense of this built into the budget? What about any renovations that need to be made to the schools absorbing mass amounts of students? Is there a plan to add more playground equipment or expand the kitchen so lunches are served quickly? Is there a plan to add stoplights at Lancaster and 38th to keep traffic moving with the influx of extra traffic during arrival and dismissal? These are the details that parents are worried about.
I have said it numerous time and have meant it, if you can prove to me that you can do this, and that there will be no errors in this transition that affect my child's experience, safety, or education expectations, I would support this decision. No one has attempted to prove to me that this is the best way to bridge the budget gap. (Trust me I would love to go back to spending my time cleaning my house or playing with my children instead of worrying about what you are doing)
Based on a need to save money we are throwing away two successful elementary schools while funding sports to the tune of $1.2 million, offering numerous elective courses at the high school level with charging a fee, choosing to keep non-academic properties open, considering the need for an assistant superintendent, and not attempting to use the suggestions from the community.
I worry that not taking Mr. Hall and the administrations recommendation shows the community that the school board does not value their professional opinions. There has been numerous other options presented that would result in savings and added revenue each year. I will stand by my opinion that if school closings would have been taken off the table, much like the middle school changes were, a better options would have been found. The fact that so much time was spent on the one plan based on closing schools and learning information on savings, class sizes, and transition needs as it unfolded was disheartening. I still can not believe that this was even an option to begin with. I beg you to please sit down and talk through this option one more time. Make sure that you have all the accurate information to make such a final decision.
By Mr. Hall's own account the savings of closing schools was over-estimated by $1.4million dollars! Also that committing to putting the ISAs back in the budget even with the schools closing was something he could not do. All the accurate information was not presented and the vote to close schools was made based on vague numbers and plans. The voting process itself was horrific to witness. There was no clear direction and the numerous votes we a testament to how many questions were still needing answers before the final budget is approved. Parents need to believe in the direction the school board took, and that is hard when the information continued to change each week.
I pray you have made the best decision and that you can prove me wrong.
Leigh Ann Gigliotti