Our opinion: Planning a move
Remember stacking dominoes in curvy lines, then tipping one at one end to watch them all fall down in a pleasing way, a sort of brief stab at perpetual motion?
Restructuring the Warren County School District is a bit like that. When the district’s board took a look at the overall structure of the district and decided that frugality in the face of declining enrollment called for fewer buildings, it started stacking dominoes with a specific goal in mind.
Like those black tiles that were intended to be used for a game of numbers, the school district’s challenge is a game of numbers.
The latest move, which the board confirmed Monday night, involves closing the South Street Early Learning Center, previously known as South Street Elementary, and transferring those students to the Warren Area Elementary Center. Given the projected continued decline in district enrollment, consolidation of facilities is virtually inevitable.
While we expect minor glitches (Have you ever moved your family without them?) we’re confident that the district’s administration has thought the process through sufficiently so those flies in the logistical ointment can be dispatched quickly and to the satisfaction of nearly everyone.
Yes, class sizes are growing. They are growing at nearly every level of education, a testament to school systems finding themselves searching for efficiencies in the face of growing expenses and the need to keep taxes in check.
A little more than a year ago, the school board shifted gears on its master facilities plan, adopting a compromise that would guarantee the long-term existence of four high schools, while reducing the overall number of buildings it must maintain.
The South Street move is just one part of that plan. Other elementary schools will be closing over the next few years in Russell, Sugar Grove, Clarendon and Sheffield, and two high schools will be expanded to accomodate all of those students as K-12 centers. When the balance sheet of expansions and closings is complete, it should represent an economy of resources.
Moving is never easy, whether it is a family or a faculty and students, but we believe the district’s administration will make these moves as painless as possible.