‘Do you trust school leaders?’ - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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‘Do you trust school leaders?’

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Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4:00 pm

I am a ten year volunteer with the McNeel Middle School band. I am appalled that not one dollar of this $70 million referendum is earmarked for the education of our students. The people “pushing” the yes vote to spend this obscene amount of money on new and expanded buildings seem to be out of touch with what it takes to educate the students.

Students don’t learn because of a building. They learn because of good teachers who have the books and educational materials they need to teach. Most teachers have to spend out of their pocket to get all the supplies they need. And the School Board doesn’t seem to care. They don’t work at fixing this problem.

A $6 million swimming pool and fitness center that benefits less than 200 students (reported in the Beloit Daily News) while they cut every enrichment program in every school? These programs (art, band, orchestra, choir, drama, etc.) are important and benefit more than 1,000 kids just in the middle schools alone. They have been underfunded for years and again, the School Board doesn’t work at fixing these problems.

The absurd idea of putting 9 and 10 year olds in the same building as 13 and 14 year olds? Maybe the parents of these 9 and10 year olds should take a walk through McNeel during class changes and lunch periods and see just what your child will be exposed to. Separate entries will not keep these kids from co-mingling.

Voters beware. They have already mishandled the grant money for new boilers for McNeel and Aldridge. Do you really trust them to handle $70 million?

Send a message to the School Board and Administration and vote no on April 3.

Sandra Storley


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  • sobogirl posted at 4:17 pm on Mon, Apr 2, 2012.

    sobogirl Posts: 25

    I'm referring to the imagine presentations. They said our 7th and 8th graders will be able to help younger kids learn. I do not mind that after school, but I want my child challenged during the school day.

  • JazzyPlayer posted at 11:56 am on Mon, Apr 2, 2012.

    JazzyPlayer Posts: 81

    The students who went to comfort the other class were not teacher assistants. They willingly volunteered and asked if they could go comfort them. It's like the big sibling philosophy.

  • sobogirl posted at 9:29 am on Mon, Apr 2, 2012.

    sobogirl Posts: 25

    Jazzy, ...there are plenty of drugs, cigarettes, drinking, and other undesirable behaviors at the high school. I know that from my daughter. She has seen bags of marijuana drop out of book bags. The school tries their best, but it still happens. Lets be honest here. It happens in middle school too.

    And I really do not want my 8th grade daughter used as a teacher assistant fro younger kids. I want her being taught, challenged, and learning, unless she wants to volunteer after school.

  • JazzyPlayer posted at 3:37 am on Mon, Apr 2, 2012.

    JazzyPlayer Posts: 81

    Pam - At the high school, this is not exactly the case. We rarely have drug issues at the high school, which goes to show that either the students are learning, behaving, and not bringing drugs to school, or they are just getting crafty at hiding it.

    Yes, you can't keep the students separated the entire time. However, if you talk to someone from Turner, they can tell you that things work great over there in terms of 11 year olds mingling with high schoolers. I heard of a story in an intermediate school where the 8th graders went and comforted the 5th graders when their teacher suddenly died. I don't think there's going to be a problem with bullying and such. Furthermore, in the past we had 5th graders help Kindergarteners, and we currently have 8th and 12th graders helping the bottom of their schools. The point I am making here is that it is impossible to eliminate the student dominance role in school. If you have 4-8, 8th graders will be on top. If you have 6-8, 8th graders will still be on top. The structure may be changing, but the dominance role pretty much remains the same.

  • pam charles posted at 3:17 pm on Sun, Apr 1, 2012.

    pam charles Posts: 19

    I have seen the drug dogs at both Aldrich and McNeel. As a school board member, I was invited to watch the police perform the drug checks. Other board members went along as well. It's routine and done every so often. There have been drugs in the middle schools. Knowing that the drug dogs come in every now and then hopefully makes kids think twice. Kids do get involved in hiding things for others. That is also true.

    I'm assuming the drug dogs will go through the entire school. I hope so, because there is absolutely no way to keep kids separate from the time they leave their home until the time they return. Those of you considering a "yes" need to be aware of all of the issues. A volunteer from McNeel Middle School wrote a letter to this paper and warned of the same thing.

  • Pro-Beloiter posted at 4:07 am on Sat, Mar 31, 2012.

    Pro-Beloiter Posts: 37

    I've had three children go through Aldrich - one a current student. Never once did any of them encounter a drug-sniffing dog in the hallway and never once have they been approached to "hide things" for an older student. I'm an involved parent who knows my friends kids very well. None of them ever encountered such things there either.

    None of my kids have ever complained about the school or been scared to go. Not sure where this idea that Aldrich is such a terrible, dark place came. Not true. Does it have issues? Yes. Every school does. Is it in need of repair. Yes, all the buildings in the district are. Which is precisely why we need this referendum to pass. We have to put some money into these structures without using money from the operational budget. We've not been doing that and the money is all gone. There are no more corners to cut. It's time to suck it up and take advantage of the timing of this referendum. Our kids are worth the average monthly payment of 6 bucks/month. Come on, Beloit. Let's look ahead and do something for this city! It's waaaaay past time we did!

  • billtinder posted at 2:55 pm on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    billtinder Posts: 4879

    Yes, I too appreciate Mr Wong's honest and usefull posts. His attempts to clarify different aspects of this referendum are helpful and clearly show that his heart is in the right place, so I trust his opinions.
    But that doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with all of them. Some of the capitol improvments, I agree with. Others, not so much.

  • JazzyPlayer posted at 1:51 pm on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    JazzyPlayer Posts: 81

    Great point Mr. Wong. I appreciate that you are working to clarify the issues that everyone is questioning about.

  • JBWong posted at 10:53 am on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    JBWong Posts: 16

    The plan for all of the Intermediate Schools is to have two schools within one building. There will be separate drop off and pick up locations and check points in the buildings to assure there is little or controlled interaction between 4-6 and 7-8 graders.

    This has been clearly stated and laid out in dozens of public presentations.

  • james posted at 7:51 am on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    james Posts: 63

    Isn't her point simply that this does not serve all kids? They did nothing to improve arts in the schools that were left out of this referendum, and they could have. And I have been in McNeel Middle School and Aldrich Middle School to know that she is right. Those are not places I would want a 9 year-old.

    Are the drug sniffing dogs going to go through the entire school, or will they just sniff the 7-8 lockers? There will be drugs in that school, as there are now, and little kids will be shaken by things like drug dogs and older kids trying to convince them to hide things for them. --- just one example.

  • JBWong posted at 10:03 pm on Wed, Mar 28, 2012.

    JBWong Posts: 16

    In response to Mrs. Storley's comments regarding the referendum it is VERY important to know the vast difference between Operating expenses and Capital Improvements. Before making a decision on April 3rd I would highly encourage each and every voter to get their facts straight. I understand from the countless hours I have spent researching different aspects of this referendum that it is complicated and confusing. I hope this information will help sort the facts from the fiction.

    The money which pays for teachers, books, computers and other things that are directly associated with the academic process are part of the Operating budget. Our district receives substantial funding from the state every year (approximately 80%) of the Operational expenses. Out of the $73 million budget last year the state chipped in $58 million.

    The upcoming referendum is strictly for Capital Improvements. In order to receive the 64% reimbursement from the state these dollars have to be used for structural changes and improvements. These dollars cannot be used for Operational expenses. Our newest building was built 47 years ago, we have four buildings that were built before 1928. These are old buildings that have become money-pits for our maintenance budget.

    To put it in simplier terms. Each household has a monthly budget, most of what is paid for throughout the month is day-to-day expenses that reoccur each and every month (i.e.-Operational expenses). If within that same household there were to be a major renovation, new roof, siding furnace, let's say a $20-50,000 expense, this would not be covered, in full, out of our monthly income. We would go to a bank and establish financing over an extended period of time to cover for this major expense. We would then determine how much we could afford for an installment payment within our Operation budget. This would allow us to cover the large need we may have without drastically impacting the monthly day-to-day (Operational expenses).

    With that being said would it make a lot of sense to take out a 20 year loan to pay for groceries or a monthly utility bill. As a financial planner of 20 years, I would always advise my clients that this would be poor use of their dollars.

    This referendum is about a long overdue Capital improvement to our school district we cannot continue to be nickeled and dimed on the massive maintenance expenses that have continued to take money away from the Operational expenses which help our students learn.

    I hope finds it's way into one or two homes to help set the record straight. I will refrain from a long discussion about the 4 & 8th graders in the same building, but will say that it doesn't seem to be a problem for Turner to have middle school students and high school students in the same building. They never encounter one another. How do I know, I have a wife that graduated from Turner and have spoken with staff members from their district. Get the facts to make an informed decision and don't be influenced by inaccurate and misleading statements. Vote "Yes" for our Schools, Vote "Yes" for Beloit.


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