Petition for Special Sessions on the Future of Ridgeway Elementary School

Petition for Special Sessions on the Future of Ridgeway Elementary School

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Ridgeway Home & School started this petition to Dodgeville School District Board of Education

In the first week of March 2020, members of the Dodgeville School District Board of Education, and District Administrator Dr. Jeff Jacobson, stated that the school board was examining figures & information relevant to the future of Ridgeway Elementary School (RES). It was further stated, that a vote on a motion to close Ridgeway Elementary could take place at the April 13th, 2020 School Board Meeting.

The importance of RES to the community cannot be understated. The school has been a part of Ridgeway for as long as anyone can remember and is Ridgeway's largest employer. Fifty-three students attend the school, and during the summer months numerous children in the community rely on the school for a federally subsidized lunch program. RES provides the children with an individualized, self-directed learning environment and small class sizes.

The information presented thus far suggests the school board is on pace to allow only one month of time before a potential vote on the future of RES. During this time, only two public school board meetings are scheduled to provide a single hour of public listening time. It should be noted the open enrollment deadline is April 30th, 2020, so any vote to close of RES held after April 30th would provide parents of RES students no choice in where to send their children next year.

While we acknowledge there are challenges to be faced in the coming years, there are no financial, maintenance or educational crises that demand the school be closed at this time, without time for public input, and examining alternative paths.

Therefore, we call on the Dodgeville School District Board of Education to:

1) Pledge not to propose or vote on any resolutions after the April 30th open enrollment deadline, that would close RES prior to the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Voting to close the school after April 30th would not provide the opportunity for any RES parent to enroll their children in another district for the 2020-2021 school year.

2) Agree to keep RES open through the end of the 2020-2021 school year, to provide adequate time for public engagement, comments, ideas, research, and planning on the matter. The closing of a school that has been part of our community for decades deserves careful consideration, including the exploration of options that may allow the school to remain open.

3) Schedule a series of special sessions over the next year, specifically to address and plan for the future of RES, and update the community on developments as they occur. These sessions should seek public input, answer questions, and ultimately help plan for the future of RES, whatever it may be.

4) Create a community task force to research, discuss and create a public plan for the future of RES. This task force should be comprised of school board members, RES parents, community members, business people and other stakeholders with interest in the future of RES and the Dodgeville School District.

5) Should the task force and school board find that closing of RES is a necessity based on the educational needs of the students or the economic viability of the school, a detailed plan covering logistics of the closure, impact to students and the community shall be created and made public in a reasonable time prior to the school's closure.

We believe the above items do not create an unreasonable burden the school district or taxpayers of Iowa County, nor are they unreasonable demands to make of our elected public officials. We acknowledge a day may come when RES must be closed, but should that day come, we expect that as members of the school district and members of the community, we will be be given a voice in the process.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
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