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Letter: A Residents View of An Alternative Reconfiguration Plan

Full district clustering provides Mineola with the most educationally equitable and financially beneficial configuration. Dividing Mineola in half in a north/south model would have many negative long-term consequences and inevitably one school would be perceived as “better” than the other.

We have this problem now with four schools, and it will only become more magnified with north/south.  The current full cluster model heading for the bond vote on Oct. 26 will not get fair consideration because it involves moving 5th up to the middle school and 8th up to the high school.

We know from the exit poll and much discussion that our community is overwhelmingly against this change. So if the bond fails, how will we know why?

Then the second bond is a north/south model with no changes to the the middle or high school. This does not provide a fair context for voters to express their choice. 

Dr. Nagler wrote this on his blog regarding the first bond:

“A bond defeat would be a clear indication that the community doesn’t want a cluster option; therefore the community should have the option to vote on whether or not they want the current configuration of the Middle and high school.”

This does not compute. What if we want a full cluster, but not one with construction onto Willis, three schools closed, and a new middle and high school arrangement? These are drastic changes!

Here is another full cluster idea that I think would be more attractive to parents and the Mineola community.  If you think so too, email Dr. Nagler and the Board of Ed ASAP.  I have already shared it with them.  Let’s all talk about it.

 

The “Tobar Plan” - Full Cluster Model

5 day Pre-K for all/Kindergarten at Willis (2 years)

1/2/3 at Jackson (3 years)

4/5 at Hampton or Cross or Meadow (2 years)

6-8 at the MS

9-12 and administration at the HS

- Willis, the MS, and the HS all remain the same – 5th and 8th do not move up.

- Jackson construction project would be the same – addition in the rear and multipurpose room/bus loop in the front – $4.4 million.

- No (or minimal) construction needed on other building for 4th-5th grades - with 24 kids per class per district guidelines, we would need 9 sections per grade and 18 classrooms...  Hampton has 19, Cross 20, and Meadow 22 classrooms so they would fit comfortably in at least two buildings with room for specials and support services.

- Kids would have a three-year span 1st-3rd grade.

- All kids in grades 1-5 would be in buildings with green space and large grounds.

- Willis would remain an Early Learning Center as it was intended, and programming would improve with 5-day Pre-K for all (could also be done without extending Pre-K and leaving admin as is).

- This plan is cheaper than the current full cluster model ($4.4 million vs. $6.7 million) and keeps more things the same in our district than any other plan.


Debbie Tobar

Mineola Resident