School board in a no-win situation

It is a hard pill to swallow when an elementary school your child attends is part of a discussion to be closed. No amount of savings will feel good about having your child attend a new school that is not close to home. No amount of savings will help elevate the anxiety felt the first time you load your child onto the bus going to their new school. For the school board making the decisions, they are in a no-win situation.

On the other hand, closing any school, much less an elementary school is never an easy vote for a school board member. Serving on a school board is difficult. There will always be someone who disagrees with the decisions made.

The board of directors of the Minot Public School District (MPS) decided to close Bell and McKinley Elementary Schools on Thursday, Feb. 29. The decision to close the schools was approved. The school district will provide busing for the affected students.

The MPS is facing a $6 million deficit, again a number the parents do not care about; this is their child’s elementary school. Elementary school is when kids experience their most academic growth. Having your community elementary school shuttered is an impossible pill to swallow for a parent.

It is easy to jump on the school board and criticize. But in reality, something long-time board member Jim Rostad said on Thursday night is larger than the money saved and the heartache that is being felt: “Class sizes at both schools were in most cases half or less than half that of other classes at other elementary schools in the district.”

If you have half the students, the school district can only offer half of the academic and extracurricular offerings. The students of these two schools are missing out on opportunities other children in the other elementary schools.

We are sure this decision caused a lot of sleepless nights for the three people who voted yes. We are also parents. We understand the emotional pull of losing your elementary school.

Kids are far more resilient than parents will ever give them credit for being, and if the district puts itself in the position to have more academic and extracurricular offerings for the kids in kindergarten through fifth grade with this move, in the end, the kids win.


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