South Point in Catch-22

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, September 24, 2008

There is nothing worse from a political standpoint than for taxpayers to feel like they are not getting their money’s worth when it comes to something they voted to pay for.

Such is the case for many taxpayers who send their children to South Point schools.

A recent flap has risen over the district’s Catch-22 — or the position of being between a rock and a hard place — it finds itself in.

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Two elementary schools that are now under construction are set to be put into use at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

There are 254 students at Burlington Elementary and 617 at South Point Elementary. The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission indicates the minimum enrollment for one of its buildings is 350.

So now the district says it needs to either re-district or re-align. That means some parents who thought they would be sending their children to Burlington Elementary could instead end up sending them to South Point Elementary, and vice versa.

The district also says a possibility is housing grades K-2 in one building and grades 3-5 in the other, which appears to be the best compromise. It seems the parents would still have their children in the school they originally expected for three years instead of not at all.

The parents made it clear during a town hall meeting Monday they aren’t messing around.

“I feel like you are playing catch up because of poor decisions,” said Robin Whaley, a parent of a first-grader. “We voted you guys in because we trusted you. There will be a re-election.”

During the meeting Superintendent Ken Cook said, “We told you we would build a building in Burlington and that is what we did.”

However, that justification will do little to satisfy those who thought there children would actually go to school in it.

What is important for the administration and the public to recognize is that the emotion must be taken out of this issue in order for a sensible resolution to occur.

Although no solution is going to be satisfactory to those disaffected, the board must act in the best interests of the students and the taxpayers. …

And then brace for the storm that most certainly will come.