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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor
November 16, 2018

3/20/2018 1:28:00 PM
Vote is for communities' children


As community members who have always been interested and invested in the education of our community's children, these are some of the reasons we will be voting for consolidation on March 20:

The consolidation of our two districts is the effective answer to the reality of the fiscal restraints each district is facing. Declining enrollments and uncertain state funding are underlying causes for serious concern. When we come together, we are being responsible financial stewards of our children's futures. For this reason, we will be better together.

When our districts consolidate, we are continuing to honor traditions found in the rural areas of Crawford and Clark Counties. There is something special in small rural schools which is not found in larger countywide schools. It starts with the tight knit school families in our elementary buildings and continues to our middle and high schoolers who are already working together through sports. Allowing our students to truly be one school family, PreK-12, will build relationships throughout our eastern Crawford and Clark Counties area; both in our children and among all of our families and villages. Our long-term future as a rural area will benefit from the relationships built across our community when our children are no longer divided but are united in purpose and with pride. In this way, we will be better together.

For our students in the middle grades, having a true middle school concept building will benefit our children. As a consolidated middle school, there will be enough students to offer more than just the bare bones basics. When middle grade teachers can be dedicated to just this grade span, they will help our early teens grow into confident young men and women prepared to take on the rigors of high school. Friendships and social skills learned at this level through working together with peers teaches so much more than academic content. Our students will be stronger when we are together.

Through consolidation, our high school students will have more opportunities to meet the expectations of our ever changing world. These students will be better prepared for their futures in college or the workplace than what either district can presently provide, alone. With the number of students in a consolidated high school, opportunities open to offer the wider range of classes needed by our children for real success in life. Consolidation will offer a stronger curriculum. Consolidation will offer more leadership opportunities for students through activities and extracurricular clubs. This gives our children and our community a better future.

This consolidation vote is for our community's children and their futures. While we adults are tasked with making responsible decisions, we must remember it is the children who will be most affected by the decisions we make. If we want to build a better community for them, we need to step up now and put in place an educational system in which they can be assured continued solid academic and extracurricular experiences - in a stable school district which reflects the values of their families and the community. Change is hard for adults, but our community's children need us to think of their futures and what is going to give them the best opportunities at success in life. We are stronger together. We are better together. We will be voting to unite our communities in the March 20 school consolidation vote.

Stanley Stephens

Former Hutsonville Unit 1 Board of Education member, HHS alumnus

Diana Stephens

Reading Teacher, Hutsonville Elementary and Junior High School

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