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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Closing LMS makes sense
To the editor:
“School District urged to go slow” reads the headlines in the July 4 edition of the South Whidbey Record. If the school district went any slower, it would be going in reverse. The time frame for cutting our financial losses cannot be dragged out any longer if we are going to be able to accomplish lower budget numbers in time for this coming fall.
Dr. Fred McCarthy was hired to lead our school district, not only educationally but also fiscally. He has determined that, with the information given him by consultants and the input by members of the school board, community and other advisers we need to downgrade the physical size of our district. Let him do the job we hired him to do, whether it’s popular with some people or not.
Closing the middle school would reduce the cost of one whole building — maintenance, salaries (certificated and non-certificated personnel), heating, electricity, security, etc. Proximity to downtown Langley is a non-issue. School buses run from Maxwelton Road to town already.
As far as a “sense of place” is concerned, those students would be leaving in another year or two to the high school anyway.
Yes, the middle-school campus is dear to our hearts, but if it would cost more than a million dollars to retrofit it to bring it up to standards, and we have facilities which could readily absorb the students at no extra cost to the district, it is time to let go of our emotions and face fiscal and economic reality.
Whether or not the national, state and local economies are in a low period, it makes good business sense to reduce financial overhead whenever and wherever possible or deemed necessary.
Which is more important — keeping old buildings which need large amounts of money to bring them up to necessary requirements or consolidating classes into newer, safer buildings where educational goals can be met just as adequately?
As our district has grown over the past 50 years, all those buildings were added as needed.
Now, as our student enrollment declines, we can justify reducing the physical plants while still maintaining educational standards. As for the disposition of the middle school property, why do we have to decide right now? Make the move now to vacate it, and then we can take the time later to make that decision which will benefit both the community and the school district.
Don and Jean Goodfellow