As a parent and taxpayer I have questions and concerns about the possible closing of Woodstock and Andover elementary schools.
If we close these schools will the quality of our children's education improve?
What will the student-teacher ratio be? How do the teachers feel about this?
Crescent Park is on a monitor list. What are the District's plans to rectify this before adding more students to the school?
Will these closures impact middle school performance?
At what point do we outgrow Crescent Park? If we reach that point, what is the plan and at what cost to taxpayers?
What will happen to our property values when we have one elementary school to cover a vast area?
What are the transportation routes? What are the drop-off and pick-up times for outlying area?
I am concerned that the quality of education will not improve but suffer. Smaller classrooms are a key to success. After volunteering at Woodstock Elementary for the past four years I see how hard a teacher must work to keep each student motivated to achieve. The school is expertly run by a dedicated staff and the student-teacher ratio is manageable, the result of consistently high test scores by the students.
I have been a nurse for 22 years. The past 17 have been spent in emergency rooms. I have seen a lot of changes in the area. Many of these changes have not been for the better. There are many serious problems a teacher has to deal with every day. For many reasons teachers spend more time with a lot of kids than parents/caretakers do. They need the time and resources to do this. Smaller classrooms allow this and prevent issues from impacting the whole class.
I am concerned property values will crop as a result of having one school to cover a big district. At this point Crescent Park seems to have all it can handle. I am also concerned about the ability to attract and keep families in the area. There are house lots for sale all over Woodstock. If asked I would tell people to wait before buying in the area. If our school closes they may want to look elsewhere. Not good PR for the town or the district. What do we want our community to look like in five to 10 years?
I, for one, will be very angry if we close our school and two or three years from now the District is buying trailers or wanting to build a new school to accommodate an overflow of kids.
Parents will need to make transportation arrangements and the Crescent Park area needs to be prepared for traffic increases. There are lot of people who will not want to put young kids on the bus very early for an hour-plus bus ride.
I would urge anyone who shares these concerns or has others to contact their school board members and town representatives for concrete answers. We need to understand the full impact these closures will have. We should not base this very important decision on the bottom line of money alone.