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Michele Knaack

January 25, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

Our children spend eight hours a day, five days a week with the same group of kids and teachers. Their school is their second family. No matter what the outcome of the School Board vote in February, there will be an avalanche of emotions for everyone. I know it is much easier said than done to make comments such as, "just look at the numbers" and "put our emotions aside." Closing a building will impact numerous facets of both communities no matter which one is chosen to remain open or closed. There is no sense in arguing the fact as to which town will suffer more, the fact is they will both mourn and suffer from the loss of a school building.

Tensions are running high and we are even seeing some tempers do the same, we all still need to remember the most important thing.THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN.

With that being said;

Each one of our elected School Board members brings a unique skill, value and belief to the G-R School Board. They sit on this board in trust of both of our communities. As individuals they chose to run and stand up for the children of G-R and as a community we voted them into their existing positions. I believe they are all doing their best to work in collaboration with one another and the other advising committee members. Rest assured that they all are more than aware that the authority rests with all of them as a whole not on any one person's shoulders.

I personally believe that Mr. Holloway is an outstanding educational leader as our Superintendent and that he is doing everything above and beyond his abilities to ensure that G-R has high student achievement and that our school district is operating as efficiently as possible.

Last year, I had the opportunity to approach the School Board when the 30 student cap was put into effect. Along with other concerned parents we asked the Board to allow for the Kindergarten class in the RBK building to remain in 2 separate classrooms for 2014-15 school year until a long term solution could be achieved. I am personally astonished at even the consideration of placing RBK K-2 in the High School and bussing some of the excess RBK students to GB to even class size. I am not sure what that solves, and how do you determine who busses and who doesn't? If we bus 9 out of 28 students then why not bus them all? It is because of questions like these that the most logical options are to close one entire campus or the other. Now is not the time to spend money to experiment with Band-Aid solutions.

I was not born in Reinbeck or Gladbrook nor was I here before the consolidation of the 2 schools, but I am amazed by the animosity that still harbors from these choices of the past. It baffles me that on the football field, basketball court and auditorium stage the 2 communities come together united. WE ARE GR. You don't hear the sports announcer call out the team mate by what town they reside in, they are G-R Rebels no matter what their address is.

The school I attended from K through 6 shut its doors last fall after 128 years. My hometown no longer has any school, all children K-12 are bussed. It was a hard decision for that School Board as well, especially for those that resided in my hometown, but it was the logical choice for that district. I am proud that my hometown of under 600 people continues to strive and be the wonderful community I remember from my youth.

The decision to close either GB or RBK buildings did not come from pulling ideas out of a hat. There were and continues to be a great deal of research from a collection of very knowledgeable people. Even though it saddens me to think about closing a building, I can look at the information and I see where the logical option to ensure that G-R school will thrive for years to come is to close a building. I am merely referencing the fact that it allows for our school district to operate more efficiently than it currently does.

Nobody WANTS a building to close but the reality is that it truly is in the best interest of our children's education to do so. I have a hard time believing that the people that don't want a building to close would rather see program and teacher cuts.

The "right" choice is the one that will financially enable our children to have the best educational future possible. It will be the choice that allows our children to continue to benefit from the numerous programs and activities that GR is proud to be able to provide for our students.

I have faith that every member of our School Board is taking all the information into consideration, weighing all the options, checking all the financial benefits, listening to all opinions and basing their decision on all the facts and the best interest of all of our district in the end.

Michele Knaack




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