Questions and answers
In one week, Clark County residents will go to the polls to vote on Question 2, a measure that will decide the course of our school buildings for years to come. I’m not here to tell you how to vote, but I’d like to share some observations with you.
As I wrote last week, I do my best to come down from the “hill” that is the central office to get an up close look at what’s going on in our schools. What I saw in two school visits last week was, to put it mildly, disconcerting.
I visited William V. Wright and Robert L. Forbuss Elementary Schools in the Southwest part of the valley. If you’re not familiar with these two schools, they’re both run by stellar administrators and staffed by outstanding teachers and support staff. The students are advancing academically and were a pleasure to be around.
Both schools were built to house around 750 students. Today, both are bursting at the seams with nearly 1,200 students. To accommodate the growth, these schools have portables everywhere. Portable classrooms. Portable restrooms. Even a portable cafeteria. Students in Clark County deserve better.
Conditions at Wright and Forbuss are simply not sustainable. The District will build two new schools to reduce overcrowding if Question 2 passes. If Question 2 does not pass, we’ve identified two possible solutions. First, we are considering busing students out of the area to other schools. The other option is to convert some campuses to year-round schools.
Neither option is preferred. I am a firm believer in students going to a school close to home. Public schools are a way to build community and we cannot do that effectively if some students in the neighborhood go to school in the area and others are bused elsewhere. Parents at both schools have spoken out against the year-round schedule.
I know our economy is not yet what we would like it to be, but our responsibility to provide every student with a quality education starts with providing them a functional school building. Buildings with functioning air conditioning and heating. Buildings equipped to handle advances in technology that enhance the learning environment. And in the case of Wright and Forbuss, buildings that aren’t overcrowded.
Our goal is to have every graduating senior ‘Ready by Exit’ to compete in college or career without remediation. I’ve asked the community share in that vision with me and the response has been overwhelmingly supportive. If you’d like to learn more, click here.