Endorse the 3 middle school option
This petition made change with 370 supporters!
Portage Public School Board of Education is currently considering closing West Middle School. This would be a mistake for a number academic and financial reasons and we ask that any bond proposal in November include plans to renovate and construct 3 middle schools.
West Middle School is not only the top performing middle school in Portage, it is the top performing middle school in the overall Kalamazoo area. This petition asks the board to endorse the 3 middle school option to preserve the current school configuration while North Middle School and Central Middle School are rebuilt and West is renovated. This three middle school configuration is also more than $15 million cheaper than the proposed two campus plan.
School consolidation disproportionately affects the most vulnerable students in any district. Increasing North and Central’s student population by 50% or more will present more challenges to every student that is already struggling in Portage.
Academic research shows that large schools routinely have:
- larger achievement gaps between the top performing student and the lowest performing students
- increased absenteeism rates
- higher dropout rates
- lower extracurricular participation
- lower teacher and student satisfaction
- increased feelings of alienation among students
- increased discipline problems
- administrations whose focus shifts from the education of children to their discipline in order to deal with increased non-academic needs
- lower parental participation rates
- less personal contact between administrators and parents
Academic gains, if any, are limited to the top performing students. Average and struggling students generally fall even farther behind in large schools according to the research. Any new facility plans should benefit every student in the district and not come at the expense of children who are already struggling.
In short as schools grow in size so do the all of the academic and social problems.
The proposed plans to consolidate to 2 middle schools will cost taxpayers approximately $15 million more in construction costs than the equivalent 3 school option. That is $15 million that can be spent on football stadiums, pools, technology, or saved until we start discussing the rehab and construction of the elementary schools in a few years.
Transportation costs will increase under the 2 school option as more buses and drivers will be added to accommodate the additional students that once walked to West. Improvements to the infrastructure around North and Central would be needed to accommodate the increased car and bus traffic around those areas. These infrastructure costs haven’t been included in any publicly available projections.
By signing this petition you are sending a clear message to the board of education that you support 3 middle schools in our town. You are sending the message that you will not support any bond proposal that endorses 2 middle schools. You are sending the message that you stand for the best education for every child in Portage.
Please sign this petition today. Tell the board that you want 3 reasonably sized middle schools to ensure that every student receives the best education Portage can provide.
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