Article on Cape facilities task force flawed
I am a member of the Cape Henlopen School District Facilities Task Force III and a parent of two Shield’s Elementary students and two future students, and I am really disappointed in the article, and subsequent editorial, that appeared in the Gazette last week. That article represented a flawed view of our recommendation and failed to mention just how much time and effort has been put into these decisions.
The task force is made up of Cape Henlopen School District employees, parents of Cape students, and community members who truly care about the children of the Cape Henlopen School District even though they don’t have children enrolled in school. Prior to the task force being assembled there was an open invitation in the Cape Gazette asking those with interest to join the task force. The meeting minutes have been available on the Cape Henlopen School District website and updated regularly.
The task force has welcomed visitors at our meetings and took on new members throughout our nine month process. It is interesting that people who chose not to give their time in joining the task force and be a formal part of the decision making process, choose now to voice their displeasure with our recommendations. Shame on those people! But that is not the purpose of my letter.
My true purpose is to correct the errors in the Gazette’s article.
First, no final decision has been made as of right now.
Second, the task force only submits a recommendation to the school board, which in turn makes the final decision.
Third, the recommendation that the task force is going to make to the school board is for the construction/renovation of five schools.
The task force has reviewed district population maps and the projections for future population growth and we recognize the need for a fifth school in the area west of Route 1. We are extremely concerned with the long bus rides that some of our students must endure, and have kept that in mind while formulating our recommendation.
And fourth, the task force discussed the possibility of combining Milton Elementary and HOB, and decided against it for many reasons, one of which was the logistical problems that come with a 1,000-plus student school. Our school district has prided itself in having strong parent/teacher and parent/administrator relationships our teachers and administrators have been able to know each student personally. We wish to preserve this familiarity, and that would be much more difficult, if not impossible, in an elementary school of that size.
I want to ask the readers to keep an open mind when reviewing the task force’s recommendation, and eventually the school board’s decision. Know that our children’s education and well-being have been first and foremost on our minds, and we have strived to serve their needs to the best of our ability.
Understand that there were extensive meetings, visits to each of the district’s elementary schools, as well as the Consortium and Mariner Middle School, not to mention additional newly-constructed schools in the Milford and Colonial school districts. Furthermore there was a plethora of information/data gathered and reviewed to guide our decision making process. Please strive to remain as positive as we have been about this exciting new era in our school district.
Task Force III member and parent