Those of us who are fierce proponents of neighborhood schools and those on the school board no doubt want the same thing: quality schools that prepare our children to be active participants and leaders in our community and in the nation.

It isn’t the technology, or the size of the gymnasium that enhances a child’s education. Research in vastly different communities -- in West Virginia, California, Alaska and Montana -- finds that smaller schools correlate with improved student test scores (even mitigating the effect of poverty), reduced violence, increased parental contact and increased teacher satisfaction. Why? It is relationships that make the difference in our lives. We want to know our teachers and other parents, and have our children be in schools to which they can walk safely.

The proposed school bond on the surface seems to invest in our local schools, but it is misleading. Superintendent Kultgen has said publicly that his intention is to convert several of the schools into administrative offices in the long run. What is the point of investing money in buildings? I want the funds invested in communities. I encourage a “No” vote in the upcoming bond. Let’s ring that bell when the intention matches the investment.

Elizabeth Kohlstaedt

Helena

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