Langley Advance - Letter to the Editor
Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Following is a letter that I wrote to Langley's superintendent of schools and school trustees.
Dear Cheryle Beaumont,
I was just looking at the School District 35 website and came across the Mission Statement "Working together for student success through excellence in education." And under the Core Principles it reads "Communicating honestly and openly."
So far, neither of those statements seems to be true. If you are truly concerned about student success you would not be closing down anymore schools, especially the small ones. I have been doing a lot of research lately, and have found a number of articles that prove small schools are more beneficial.
Small schools are safer. Everyone knows each other. Students are less likely to feel like outsiders. There is a dramatic reduction in incidents of fighting and vandalism. The safer caring environment created by a small school promotes academic and personal development for all students. I could go on, but I know that you have to agree that small schools are better. That is success through excellence in education, to me. Now let's talk about "Communicating honestly and openly."
In your recommendation to close Glenwood Elementary, you write, "As cost pressures increase, the realistic possibility of providing sound educational services for students has decreased." Don't you mean that you can't account for $8.3 million dollars, and now we need to close more schools so we can pay it back?
In a letter on the School District 35 website, entitled Deficit Elimination Plan, presented to the Ministry of Education, updated October 15, 2009, it states, "Ms. Beaumont noted that the plan submitted by the district minimizes the impact of deficit reduction on schools."
Well, that is not true, is it? It also states that increased revenues and reduced costs will be found in four areas: Revenue Enhancements will add up to $185,000, Reductions to Administration and Centralized Services to $1.59 million (shouldn't that have been done a long time ago?), Indirect Service Reductions to $775,000, and Reductions in School Services $790,000.
I thought I just read that the impact of the deficit was going to be minimal. A Letter to Parents & Guardians dated September 10, 2009, from Cheryle Beaumont, Superintendent of Schools, states, "The $8.3 million deficit is a very large number which the district will have to pay back in the coming years. The Board of Education will keep programs and services to students as its top priorities and do its best to reduce in other areas."
Closing down Glenwood Elementary is not keeping students as its top priorities. Now parents have to pay for their children to take the school bus, because of the deficit. You want to close more schools; more children will have to take the school bus.
Are you trying to make a profit, or educate children? By closing Glenwood Elementary, you are not only upsetting and displacing students, but the families of the students and the community, as well. The projection of low enrollment is just an excuse to close the school. How can you possibly project how many children will be attending Glenwood in 2024? (That information was given to parents at a PAC meeting from the Langley School District)
To see the support of the community that wants Glenwood Elementary to stay open, visit Facebook.com.
To date there are 469 members.
Liz Firth, Langley