Legislation would hasten school closures

Dean Meyer, Dickinson

The Starkweather Stormkings. The Elgin Dutchmen. The Scranton Miners, Wishek Badgers, Milnor Bison. The Killdeer Cowboys.

Whether it’s been declining population, lack of funding, or co-ops, the past 40 years have brought a lot of changes to our small town schools.

And each time one of our schools has had to shut down or consolidate, we’ve lost a little bit of our history, our identity.

Did you know the Hebron Brickmakers were named for one of the country’s most historic brick plants, located to this day in Hebron? Another classic – the Glen Ullin Rattlers – lost their name, too, when those schools merged.

There is a bill in the state legislature that would cause even more school consolidation and more North Dakota history and identity to fade away. House Bill 1532 gives tax dollars to families who send their children to private schools. It will only be a matter of time until this alarming proposal starts cutting into funding that keeps our rural schools open.

While I support a parent’s right to send their child to a private school, I have trouble supporting the use of our tax dollars to reimburse them for it. I especially have trouble knowing this simply won’t help anyone in rural North Dakota and will end up hurting our small schools.

Tell your state senator to oppose HB 1532, or someday soon we might be saying goodbye to the Cardinals, the Hornets, the Burros, and many other small town schools and nicknames we’ve been proud to cheer on from one generation to the next.


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