Letter to the Editor: Creating another overcrowded school

Editor:

The overcrowding in Sandy Hook Elementary and W.W. Robinson Elementary has been a problem for years.

Two years ago a space committee of citizens and educators was formed to study the issue and make recommendations to the superintendent and School Board. When none of its recommendations were accepted, the School Board decided to hire an outside firm to study the issue and make suggestions along with a steering committee made up of citizens and educators. The firm made multiple recommendations, but adjusting attendance boundaries was finally chosen as the best option. The School Board then paid the firm more monies to study and recommend a plan for boundary changes, and option C was chosen as the best plan.

My bigger issue, however, is with the numbers the firm has been using from the beginning. The firm uses the “live in” numbers for all districts as a starting point to achieve a net reduction in students, but this “live in” number is not representative of the actual current attendance of each school. The net reduction in attendance for each school is the current attendance less next year’s projected attendance under option C.

The current attendance of Sandy Hook is 934, and next year’s projected attendance is 921. That leaves a net result of 13 fewer¬†students in that school for next year than this year. Will this reduction honestly do anything to improve Sandy Hook? Will it improve the education for all of its students and help the faculty and staff?

The firm, School Board and superintendent have now spun the issue of overcrowding into one of equalization. Their reasoning goes that if more students are enrolled in the southern campus the schools, then they will be able to offer more programs.

I agree that all children of Shenandoah County should be offered the same level of education and opportunities. However, my question is: must we go from two “overcrowded” elementary schools to three in order to achieve this goal? If option C is implemented, Ashby Lee will be the most “overcrowded” elementary school in the county with a 97.9 percent capacity.

Lane Lecraw, Edinburg

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