Reacting to reconfiguration

Tower Editorial Board

As South students, you look back to your times in elementary and middle school nostalgically. As community members who grew up here, you love remembering the schools you used to attend. As parents, you take pride in the renown school system we have, and don’t want it to change.

The thought of the schools we love and have grown up in closing, and our school concept possibly changing, seems scary to all of us, including some of those working on implementing the district reconfiguration plan.

We at The Tower believe while the upcoming district reconfiguration and school closings that come with it are going to bring unwelcomed change to our district, they are necessary, and we as a community should stay informed as the process continues.

As explained and emphasized in the feature on pages four and five, the district reconfiguration is necessary at this point, and is not something that came out of nowhere; it was planned. There are currently seven options the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) is deciding between about which schools to close and systems to adopt.

This change is necessary because enrollment triggers which were set in place were met this past November. This is when the enrollment dropped over 200 students when the projected number was only 100 students. The district reconfiguration is necessary to keep the schools running due to the overwhelming deficit the district is in. The less students enrolled in GPPSS, the less money that is coming in, which means some schools have to close.

It is important to stay involved in and updated on the process. Go to board meetings and BRC meetings. Give your input. Listen to the updates. Pay attention to the news. Whether you are a student, parent or community member who is not consistently or directly involved with the school system, this process is important.

“I think it’s always healthy for everyone in the community, especially when we’re looking at the school district…to keep on board with what’s going on through either personal attendance at the board meetings or using the television, and keep reading the school bulletins,” Brownell principal and member of the BRC, Roger Hunwick, said.

Hunwick further said he always appreciates the student voice.

“Your voice is important in all of this as well,” Hunwick said. “When decisions are made we always need to get the opinions and ideas of those that are most impacted, which is you.”

We understand the process is going to be challenging for everyone involved, and are not looking forward to the closed schools, laid off staff or bigger schools and rezoning. There is going to be a difficult transition to the new system, but eventually we will adjust. We at The Tower hope South students and the community can try to welcome and adapt to the changes. We appreciate the district being proactive and coming up with solutions, because we do recognize change is necessary.

The process of reconfiguring our school district is going to be hard, that’s not a question. It will be a big adjustment. We at The Tower encourage the student body and community as a whole to try to have an open mind and at least somewhat positive outlook on the changes, knowing they are inevitable, and to stay involved as the process goes on.