Letter to the editor: ACSD statistics are questionable

In response to Angelo Lynn’s April 25th editorial, I must respectfully take issue with many of the points made. I will not go through all of them, but will select a few to make a point. For one, many of the charts and numbers presented need to be questioned for accuracy.
Take for instance, the “Utilization of Capacity by School” chart. This is based on capacity for fire code … not actual classroom utilization. It gives the false impression that there are large sections of schools not being used (Really, Mary Hogan doesn’t utilize 30 percent of its space? Do teachers and staff agree with that number? How about the other schools?).
Also, the $61.5 million is not a quote for “basic” facilities repairs. According to information after questioning at the Facilities Meetings, this is a comprehensive quote from 2019. There was also a more “basic” quote given in 2017 that totaled around a third in cost (I only have a chart from ASCD to look at, so don’t have the total of that quote).
I make these points to show that we must question these charts and numbers that are presented to us, rather than simply accept them, especially when they are all skewed towards closing schools. The reality of closing any school will have a big impact on the community, but to honestly consider closing most of them would be a shock to the entire district (…and be extremely expensive, as new construction is not getting any cheaper!).
Ripton School was a huge part my family’s decision to move there. We believe the positive opportunities for our children are great in a small school, not limiting. We were instantly welcomed to the community through the families and staff at our small elementary school. This is especially important in these days when so many feel disconnected from their physical community (just as important as our beloved general stores).
Small schools are an asset that attracts families and will continue to, as more young families search for strong small communities. If we want more young families to move to Addison County, we should be encouraging and supporting our small schools, not closing them.
John Wetzel

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