Letter to the Editor: Waterville school closing

To the Editor:

I am against the closing of the Waterville Elementary School. The reasons for closing Waterville Elementary have been eloquently expressed in print by the Allamakee Community School Board.

However, some of the facts and figures presented by the school board do not seem to add up. For instance, even if the Waterville students do take 30-40 field trips per year, some of the trips are paid for by entities other than the school district. Therefore, I question the amount the board quoted in print.

When discussions were held regarding moving the Waterville sixth graders to Waukon, a school board member is on record as stating the move was not going to result in the closure of Waterville Elementary. Really?

Issues with the Waterville Elementary physical plant have been well known for more than 30 years - when both Waterville and Dorchester were in danger of being closed (Dorchester school was closed.) Basically, the school board has been aware of issues with the Waterville Elementary physical plant since.

And, other than the much needed repair of the roof over the Waterville Elementary gym, very little work has been done to correct the problems at Waterville Elementary. Well played, school board, well played. Now some of the issues have become more urgent, but Waterville’s declining enrollment no longer supports the expenditures needed to correct the issues.

I distinctly remember being encouraged to support the new high school addition - badly needed to support a growing (not shrinking) student body. Current students at the high school in Waukon laugh and shake their heads at some of the technology at the high school that sits relatively unused on a daily basis. What about the facts and figures the public was fed to support the need for those improvements?

Waterville Elementary could easily support additional students from East Elementary. I am sure some of the East Elementary parents would not mind having their students educated at a Blue Ribbon School, would they? Waterville students have pride in their building and facilities. So much so that when Kid’s Club students from Waukon attendance centers visited Waterville and messed up the lunch room at Waterville, the Waterville students were upset.

The Waterville Elementary students receive a top-notch education (Waterville students quite frequently outscore Waukon students on standardized tests). Waterville students get the individualized attention that fosters superb learning. Waterville Elementary honestly earned its Blue Ribbon School Award.
Shame on the Allamakee Community School District Board of Education for not having a plan to make necessary physical plant updates to Waterville Elementary. The Board would rather Waterville Elementary - the only Blue Ribbon School in the district - die by attrition than remain a bright star in the Allamakee Community School District. What a sad commentary on the school board; five business people elected to oversee the welfare of our children’s education.

Sad; so, so sad. Certainly not worthy of our support.

Carol L. Jeglum


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