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School board stuck in a box

Posted on July 7, 2021

OpinionLetters

We received several inquiries asking the purpose of the four questions posed to the Granville County Board of Education in our letter last week (“Are Granville public schools a sinking ship?” July 2). We asked if the BOE had the legal authority to try some new alternatives for improving the viability of the Granville County Public School system — third party contracting, cooperation with other county school systems, GCPS operated charters, different programs. New options might help halt the decline in our traditional public schools, while providing more choices for parents and students, at a lower cost.

It seems clear that the BOE needs to adopt a new structure and better programs for our traditional schools — new strategies more focused on and supported by all the folks in Granville County. What we have now does not appear to be working well. Without change, as the saying goes: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”.

But the BOE seems to be stuck in a box, focused solely on additional school closings. Does the BOE actually believe that the cause of declining enrollment is too many schools? The GCPS staff is forecasting a loss of 600 more students over the next two years. With an average class size of around 20 students, doesn’t that mean we’ll have 30 more “excess” classrooms in 2023?

Closing more schools before all potential alternatives have been identified and explored does not seem prudent. The basic rule of “tinkering,” after all, is to first save all the parts. Due diligence by the BOE requires a broad look at all possible solutions. Or perhaps, even some “outside the box” thinking?

Our traditional public schools are lagging, and the pandemic has now made the challenge worse. What are we waiting for? Y’know, our kids are growing up fast, whether or not we choose to educate them.

Jean and Jim Blaine

Wilton

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