Readers React: Ogden School Board considering elementary school closures

Tuesday , February 06, 2018 - 4:02 PM

The Ogden School District says nine local elementary schools need to be renovated or rebuilt. Since its bond proposal failed last November, the district’s board is now looking at five tentative scenarios moving forward, and they include school closures.

According to district officials, each school costs about $300,000 a year to keep it running, and the repairs and renovations needed will total more than $48 million.

Ogden School Board considering new bond, closing Gramercy, other elementaries

These scenarios are still in the planning stages and will be discussed at the next board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Standard-Examiner readers had a lot to say about the big changes being considered by Ogden’s school board. Below are (verbatim) comments on the story and video published Feb. 3.

Mari Bean (via Facebook):

Too bad they don’t seem to have a clear reason or path. Frustrating! Politicians are not educators and they seldom make good decisions.

Mark Moulton (via Facebook):

No the District didn't listen, their still not having a Solid Plan, except for closing Wasatch.

Kevin G. Richards (via Facebook):

So the plan is either sacrifice Polk or Wasatch with Polk being on the chopping block the most. I thought the past election on the bond made it clear Polk and Wasatch needed to be saved. I guess I’m for 4 then.

ChrisAnne Clarke Conner (via Facebook):

I love my school & staff. This makes me sad but I can see why.

Vikki Deakin (via Facebook):

Nothing on that long list says anything about the schools that are closed and just rotting away—like Lewis Elementary. What is their fate? Are you going to demolish them and sell the land? Let them keep decaying? Demolish them and build new on the site? The City needs to really answer these questions if they want my money. Seems to me like if they don’t want to keep these schools that the land sales could help offset some building costs of these new schools they are proposing.

Lezlie Reinking Sokolik (via Facebook):

Looks like retribution for the failed bond.

Nathan Miller (via Facebook):

The whole reason the bond failed is because of Polk Elementary. I believe voters made it clear they want that school open, and they want all the "deferred maintenance" issues corrected. I could almost guarantee a bond solely for that purpose would pass by a wide margin. The problem comes with these all-or-nothing bonds this clueless board comes up with that do not satisfy anyone.

Brenda Barney Boyle (via Facebook):

I had such high hopes when we decided to move to Ogden, but after three years of having kids in Ogden schools it was obvious that they just aren’t up to par with the rest of Northern Utah. The best thing that could have happened for our family was getting the opportunity to move away, unfortunately. For the kid's sake, I hope OSD can find a way to function at an appropriate level.

Rachel (via Standard.net):

This is my thought: take my first grader to a charter now to avoid her being shuffled around when her school will most likely close in two years. I suspect that many parents on the east bench are thinking the same thing. If the district is worried about losing students to charters, they just opened a huge can of worms that might be difficult to close.

Amanda Grant (via Standard.net):

So if we close all these schools and we are shrinking every year in enrollment. What district jobs are being cut to reflect that?

sebasalicia (via Standard.net):

Ogden Education was organized just one month before the Bond Elections last November and has been concerned about the common sense of the School District that does not listen to us. If those of the Board do not listen to us the residents, they will fail again and in the next Elections we will elect the Candidate who really listened to our opinions as a Community

Maren Baumgartner (via Standard.net):

I think it’s also important for people to realize that this was the plan all along with building schools that held 800 + kids. They were always going to consolidate into bigger schools once they got them built. But the only school they were transparent about closing during the bond election was Taylor Canyon. School size is still a huge issue with their plan. Most of these proposed plans eliminate too many schools to keep our school sizes small. I agree that 2 schools could reasonably be consolidated. Taking 9 down to 7. But taking 9 down to 5 will result in big schools which is what the voters said they DO NOT WANT!

BobBecker (via Standard.net):

"School closures were not part of the November 2017 proposal."

Not so. E.g., the bond proposal included closing Taylor Canyon and including its students in an expanded Polk.

As for the new scenarios/options: wow. I understand the importance of full (and early) disclosure --- but. Not sure (other than on emotional and/or convenience grounds) how voters/parents are to sort out and evaluate the merits of one proposal over another. I don't have a clue how to begin.

I see one potential downside to offering so many options (for a district losing enrollment to charters), creating a great deal of immediate uncertainty. I can hear the conversations now:

"Can OSD tell me what elementary school my child will attend this Fall?"

"No."

"The charter schools can."

PS: good on the SE staying on the story.

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