Letters to the Editor

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:54am

School closures

Closures need open, honest debate

After the initial presentations and responses at the recent school closure meetings, I ruminated over the concepts of intellectual or educational integrity and debate fairness. Rubber stamping DACPO, even if operating under a glittery advertisement façade of openness, is shamefully inappropriate.

With the detailed description of the Council of Elrond, there was not one iota of doubt about the very debate process itself attaining a pinnacle of unmatched ethical standards. When Mr. Smith did go to Washington, the tale was as pure and honest as it was riveting. Last week, to hear those initial presentations and especially the Shoreline responses to questions which were simply ensconced in rationalization bends the bounds of my incredulity. We are not talking about a book or movie; we are talking about the real lives of human beings which are inherently bound to decisions of their representatives. That is not a benign concept to live with for either side.

While I have signs in my yard from Save Our Schools, I do not offer unrestricted support to their point of view. At the same time, I abhor any inane, rabid-dog attack upon them such as was in the Opinion Letters column on Feb. 16. What I do support is honest, open debate about the problem and not any time-constrained, manipulated, a priori options that are now unilaterally considered a fait accompli.

There are absolutely options and freedom of choice out there, despite warnings that there are not. Hopefully five individuals, who hold the collective educational lives of tens of thousands in their hands, will have the wisdom and intellectual acuity to think bravely and beyond the box of so-called conventional wisdom.

Raymond Koelling

Lake Forest Park

Group working to find solutions

We are writing in response to the letter from an out-of-district individual accusing parents of “sending inaccurate messages” on school closures. The letter was clever but misinformed.

A visit to www.saveshorelineschools.com reveals several solutions for helping the district balance the budget. The proposals are the result of hundreds of hours of research and collaboration with several schools’ parents, business leaders and the broad community. The savings proposed surpass the $2 million savings goal set by the superintendent. Substantial supporting information was supplied to each school board member. Is there also information on Sunset? Absolutely. We love Sunset, and donate time for grounds care, art, music, drama and math each year to help it run.

We have also posted information to educate parents from other schools that DACPO’s recommendation impacts every school. Boundaries will be redrawn for each school. School size will increase dramatically. While the district states that 500 students per elementary is an ideal number, we have presented ample studies showing the ideal is 300-400 students.

Contrary to the negative letter and its prejudice against the neighborhood, Sunset is not one of the “richest” schools in the district. Sunset’s number of students on the Federally Assisted Lunch program is 27 percent. Our neighboring schools are much lower. What we are rich in is ethnic diversity, high parent involvement, a wonderful PTA and an outstanding group of teachers and staff.

Hundreds of people attended our board hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 13, and those who came saw that we are not trying to remove Sunset from the closure list only to replace it with another school. We believe closing schools is the wrong thing to do for our children and our community, and we encourage people to work with us on solutions.

Tiffany Kopec

John Lapham

Save Shoreline Schools

Sunset is a very rich school

In a Letter to the Editor on Feb. 16, Matt Heinz said Sunset was a “rich” school. He couldn’t have been more correct. However, the wealth surrounding our school has nothing to do with financial statements and everything to do with the “richness” of the people who make up the Sunset community.

Sunset is “rich” in its dedication to Shoreline. In fact, 52 percent of the Sunset staff has served the Shoreline School District for 10 plus years.

Sunset is “rich” in highly educated teachers. Our teachers boast an impressive 68 percent with at least master’s degrees, and our teachers average 14 years of elementary education experience.

Sunset is “rich” in ethnic diversity. Our classrooms are filled with learners from around the world, 42 percent of our students are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Typically 1/3 of the children in our classrooms speak another language at home.

Sunset is “rich” in the arts program. We proudly offer six art lessons each year to every child, taught by a local artist. Additionally, students enhance their creativity with clay projects, and we fire them using our very own kiln.

Sunset is “rich” in community support. Parent volunteers spend so much time at Sunset, new teachers often think they are paid staff! Local businesses are unwavering in their contributions to our Basket Raffle, Art Walk, Family Fun Night events, and much more.

Sunset is “rich” with ideas. Our parent community has spent hundreds of hours trying to come up with budget saving suggestions for the district that don’t include closing any schools. Our only goal is to keep all students at their current schools because we know every Shoreline school is “rich.”

Yes, Mr. Heinz, Sunset is an extremely “rich” school. Thank you for sharing our “richness” with the community at large!

Julie K. Fredrickson

Sunset teacher &Sunset parent

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