Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SCUC ISD building mega-schools, not better schools

On August 11 the SCUC ISD Board of Trustees voted to dramatically increase the number of students new schools are designed to support. The recently built K-4 schools are designed for approximately 750 students, a size that is considered by the educational community to be significantly too large for the best educational outcomes, but new schools will be designed for 1210 students. Schools for grades 5-6 and 7-8 will jump to 1452 students and future high schools will go from 1500 to 2904.

The literature generally suggests that the greater the number of students on a campus the lower the educational outcome regardless of the whether or not the school is designed for the high number. The justification claimed the nearly 50% increase in size is cost savings in maintenance and operations. Studies show that while there may be small cost savings to be had in operations they are more than offset by the loss of educational quality.

While the board justifies jamming our kids into undesirable environments in order to reduce the need to raise taxes they look forward to building a large district football stadium and a 3500+ seat performing arts center. Then to add insult to injury the board approved the use of $300,000 in bond money that was saved from previous projects that came in under budget to buy electronic signs for the schools. If money is so tight we’re willing to accept lower educational performance why wasn’t that money spent to enhance our children’s educations?

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