Letter to the editor: Fawn school closing: Deja vu?
I just read the front-page story concerning rumors about closing Fawn Primary Center ( “Highlands superintendent says no school closings planned” ). Like Yogi Berra said, “It's deja vu all over again.”
In April 2010 the Highlands school board meeting was packed with parents of Heights Elementary students who had heard rumors that the district was going to close the school. Board President Debra Beale said the board had no intention of closing the building and cited state law indicating the need to hold public hearings before any building closure. Within the next two months, the district announced that students at Heights were being transferred to other buildings. They kept the building open by renting out one classroom. When they held public hearings in 2011 to close the school, the room was nearly empty.
Beale is once again board president. This year's assurance came from Superintendent Michael Bjalobok. If you attend the May 14 board meeting, someone should ask if the board intends to repeat the above procedure. It's expensive to keep a nearly empty building open just to rent out one classroom. But a year from now, the public hearing should be a no-brainer.
Seventeen years ago, Highlands spent over $4 million to build a new stadium. We were told by a board member, “If you build it they will come.” If the board is thinking of closing Fawn Primary Center, the enrollment is not there. I believe it's declined steadily for the past 17 years. The board member who gave us the above quote: Debra Beale.