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Michele Knaack

April 19, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

Friday Night Rebel Football at the Pit, Courtside Rebel Pride during basketball season, Jazz Show Superstars, these are just a few of things that could be lost if our district dissolved and went to the hands of the state.

I, personally think it is devastating when a close knit community loses a school, and it would be unimaginable for 2 close knit communities to lose a district entirely.

I understand our current school district feels disjointed and that the 17 miles that separates us feels like 17,000 miles at this point.

I understand the reasoning of the parents that are choosing to do what is in the best interest of their families by open enrolling to a school closer to their home and/or work, so that it is more convenient for their personal situation. I am sad that those students will not be in our district and I wish them all the best of luck in their academic careers. They will be missed and will be welcomed back with open arms if they choose to return to G-R.

I applaud the efforts of the people that have congregated for meetings, raised money and canvased their community for signatures on petitions, that is true dedication to your building, but with that being said, now that the decision has been made couldn't those resources best serve the students if they were redirected back into G-R? Join PTO/Impact, Fine Arts Board, and Preschool Boards, Booster Clubs or volunteer in a classroom.

I empathize with the residents, parents, teachers and students that are doing all they can to save the Gladbrook school building and to keep classes in Gladbrook, it is an emotional issue and it is impossible not to take it to heart.

I am perplexed at how this entire situation has escalated from speaking up at board meetings in a passionate attempt to keep a campus in Gladbrook to "keep the G in G-R" to filing lawsuits, appeals now going door to door in pursuit to dissolve the entire district.

It is evident to everyone in our district that any option that the school board would have went with would have resulted in some form of disappointment, there was and will not be a "win-win" solution for this situation. There are districts all over Iowa and the country going through battles such as ours.

A dissolution means the school district would no longer exist and the district would be divided among the contiguous school districts. Instead of dealing with how to dissolve a district, we should be working together on restoring the necessary teamwork and funding so we can properly educate our children in the G-R district.

All school employees in the dissolved districts would not have any guaranteed jobs in the receiving district - even though their district dissolved through no fault of their own.

It is disappointing that any of our amazing teachers have to lose their jobs due to 1 building closing and budget cuts, I can't think of a word to describe what it would be like if all of our teachers lost their jobs due to dissolving G-R.

A dissolved district's students and property would be transferred to one or more nearby districts.

There is no certainty as to where our children will go, they will not have a home base and there is no insurance that you will go to GMG, North Tama or Grundy Center. There is no assurance that either town will keep any buildings. You will go where you are placed or you will open enroll elsewhere, so what will you gain?

If you have already chose to open enroll your child out of the G-R then what exert so much more energy to make sure that there isn't a G-R left for the families that chose to stay and support our district? None of us know how the 2015 -16 school year will go, this is new territory we are treading on. We need to band together and encourage G-R school district to be the finest it can be for as long as it can.

Our school board and Mr. Holloway have dedicated hours upon hours to not only our school district but to our families to think of what will provide the best chance for some longevity in this district, it has been long course of deliberations, discussions and disagreements that led to the final outcome. It would be much more constructive if they could now devote their efforts towards implementing that plan, but that is not the reality. The reality is more budget cuts and looking for a solution to the fact our district is losing a superintendent that truly cares about our children and our communities.

The G-R school district is such a diligent school system. The students are so victorious in so many different endeavors, they excel in academics, sports, fine arts and so much more. They are mentors for our youth and they are doing all they can to pave their ways for the best future possible for them despite numerous obstacles.

When Gladbrook and Reinbeck consolidated many years ago there was hindrance and bumps in the road, but the district persevered and made some remarkable accomplishments in a several categories.

Fortify, reinforce, secure, strengthen and unify are words associated with consolidations. Demoralize, disintegration, detach and partition are words associated with dissolutions.

If handed a list of these words which ones do you want to be affiliated with a child's education?

Michele Knaack




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