Let's Focus on Students

I think students are upset, and we need to start focusing on their needs.

Driving through my neighborhood the other day, I saw a small SUV with the letters "L.K.O.D." in the rear windows.  That phrase refers to "Lahser Knights or Die," which was coined by a group of Lahser students who clearly do not want their school to close or long-held traditions to end.

I am sorry for them.  I wish I could help them.  I wish I could offer some "magic words" to make them feel better about what is going on in our schools.

I tried.  But I can't fight a stealth, low-turnout, election, and those on the receiving end of millions of new tax dollars generally know that to be true.

The fact is that Lahser (and Andover) no longer exist.  We will have a new, single high school.  Because about 8000 voters said "yes" last May 8. 

Was there a better way to solve the problems of the BHSD?  Yes.  In fact, there were many.  A really good plan would have passed on a large-turnout, general election, even-year November ballot, like the one we will face on Nov. 6. 

The best way to get valid community input is at the polls in a high-turnout election.  Holding elections for financial issues in Feb., May and August are good ways to pass unpopular taxes for unpopular plans.

The May 8 election cost BHSD taxpayers about $70,000.

In the long run, how much will it cost this district to trick district taxpayers into building a school that they do not want?  We'll have to wait and see.

(Several Michigan school districts will request renewals and new funding on Nov. 6.  If their taxpayers feel that the money will be well-spent, they will pass.)

Supposedly, a "transition plan" is being executed by the district, but I don't see much in the way of positive effect.  I think that many of our high school students realize that they are getting a bad deal. 

Are you sure we put our students first with this plan?  I'm not sure of that at all.

I have heard that some feel that they are "throw away kids" being forced to stuff themselves into a "throw away school" for the next couple of years.

Perhaps some are really excited about the new 12-lane pool, and others can't wait to put on a play at the new Performing Arts Center. 

But, I doubt many will be happy to sit in traffic in the area, and fight for parking spots on the new high school campus.  I doubt that many top students will enjoy working collaboratively with other students and I am not sure that many great teachers will enjoy working as parts of a team.

And, I'm not sure at all that anyone asked them about it.

Are two small schools better than one large one?

Could we have renovated two small buildings and constructed a Performing Arts Center and collegiate-type sports arena and Performing Arts Center at the school farm property?  Or elsewhere?  Where acreage, parking and freeway access is readily available?

I see a lot on the Patch about union-bashing and lack of respect for teachers.

I'm more concerned about our students.

Let's put the needs of our students FIRST.  They have never needed the support of adults more than they do right now.


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Judy Weiner November 02, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Timothy, you certainly said it best. Thank you.
S Sera November 02, 2012 at 12:37 AM
If I were his parent I would be "kvelling" after reading what he has written!
Ken Jackson November 02, 2012 at 01:16 AM
That's how to write!
J Arch November 02, 2012 at 11:56 AM
As a parent of a Lahser student and one that spends hours every week in the building, I can attest that the sentiments expressed by Timothy are those of the overwhelming majority of the students there. The high school kids at Lahser and Andover are more perceptive and understanding than some in our community give them credit for, especially those that don't have any direct connections to the schools. That is why I find it incredibly irresponsible for Jenny Greenwell to speculate as to what she believes the student state of mind is. Her tactic is using our students to further a political agenda and it should not be rewarded. J. Wagner
Charles Gaba November 02, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Beautifully written, Timothy. I happen to support Ms. Berndt, but Mr. Herner would do right by the district (and the new high school) as well. Ms. Greenwell strikes me, at this point, as flailing about, desperately seeking to hold on to some of the relevance that she once had. It's kind of depressing to see, really.


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