The Mineola schools are going through a major change, and change is usually difficult, and rarely easy. We are fortunate to have three board members with the vision to see the need to change the district schools, and the courage to do what is necessary, especially in the face of significant resistance, both on the part of the public, and even some board members.
The planned changes will benefit all the children in the district. For years our elementary schools have been inefficient. We have three that are beyond small, in terms of the number of students in a grade level.
Because of the way our elementary schools are configured, it is not uncommon to 25 to 30 children in a grade level in Cross Street, Hampton Street or Meadow Drive Schools. This means we have had class sizes of 13 to 15 in some grades at these schools while having 22 or more in the same grade at Jackson Avenue or one of the other schools.
Comparing the general education cost per student of the different elementary schools shows we have been spending up to 30 percent more to educate children in Meadow Drive than at Jackson Avenue, with the cost Cross Street and Hampton falling somewhere between those two. By having all the children of a single grade in one or two schools, instead of four, we can minimize the effects of these class size fluctuations, and cost per student differences.
It will also encourage more teacher collaboration, which benefits the students. The changes will make our elementary schools much more efficient. The process has taken years to get to where we are now. There were many people who were against reconfiguration in the beginning.
They voiced their concerns over the past few years. Quite a few have come to meetings and taken the time to understand the issues. Many of them now understand the necessity for the changes, and support the plans.
There will always be those who only see how things affect them, not the whole district. It seems that every board meeting has someone new showing with their own ‘new’ plan.
They don’t have the facts straight, and few have taken into account what is best for the whole district; they obviously are only concerned with their own special agenda. It is time to move forward. We need to support the board members who have taken a stand and have made the difficult choice to do what is best for the district and not stick their heads in the sand and do what is easy: nothing.