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When Geneva Republicans Act Just Like Democrats

Does even the thought of busing some Mill Creek Elementary kindergarten students really constitute a communist plot? I don't think so!

The difference between Democrats and Republicans is … well, there really isn’t one. Unless you count the level of lunacy, that is. You see, Democrats tend to act like Democrats and Republicans act like Republicans only until they get elected, at which time they immediately start to act like Democrats.

They say they want less government, but what that really mean is they want less government as long as the other guys are in charge. And it trickles right down to the fine folks who pull a GOP ballot, because they also love to shriek “less government” until they’re the ones asked to make the sacrifice.

Though I’m sure you’ll give it your best shot, please don’t tell me I don’t know where the Republicans are, because the Mill Creek subdivision is absolutely rife with ‘em. Why, you can’t swing a dead cat out there without smacking a card-carrying member of the GOP right upside the head.

So I had to laugh what’s left of my shrinking middle-aged butt clean off when I read about the plaintive pleas to the School Board . With utterly solemn and completely straight faces, those parents said the only possible and plausible answer to the kindergarten enrollment bubble at is to hire more teacher(s).

Apparently, they’re imitating their hero, 14th District Congressman Randy Hultgren, who also wants to have his cake and eat it, too. Despite slamming presidential spending at every possible press release turn, he wants to keep the obsolete Fermilab facility open with your money because, well, it’s in his district and those people vote!

When eminently reasonable School Board member Matt Henry suggested that busing some Mill Creek kindergarten students to Fabyan Elementary might be a “no-brainer” because of the proximity of the school, you’d a thunk he’d just proposed a Geneva variation of the Hunger Games to thin out the pre-K herd.

One Mill Creek parent implored the board thusly; “No matter what the enrollment issue is, a single family should not be segregated from their immediate neighbors.” Others nearly wept as they described how their children would be scarred for life if they were separated from their friends as that yellow bus pulled away from the corner stop.

You’d think that District 304 was busing them into CPS inner city schools. “Segregated!?” Really? Where’s Martin Luther King when you really need him? I’m surprised they didn’t break into a chorus of We Shall Overcome right there in the middle of the board meeting.

For goodness sake people—get a grip. Fabyan Elementary is a just a mile away.

While I will stipulate that this busing scenario, when compounded by the real prospect of new 2013 school boundaries, means that some young charges might have to make three transitions in three years, adding new teachers’ salaries—at time when taxpayers are being forced out of their homes—is far more unconscionable.

God bless the School Board for seeing that!

And get another grip, people! These are kindergarteners and first-graders. They still enjoy school, they’re eminently adaptable, and they make friends even faster than most Republicans make enemies. They’ll do just fine, no matter what happens.

Pressed to make a quick ruling, the board members thankfully stood their ground, declaring that they’d like to see the enrollment numbers, determine the actual busing cost, and consider other alternatives to adding staff before making a decision.

“We have to be able to speak to the cost,” board member Bill Wilson said, “If it’s moving from Fabyan to Mill Creek, what is that plan going to look like? We need to have a couple plans in place and be able to tell people this is what’s going to happen.”

The School Board also agreed to take a serious look at the redistricting option as the ultimate solution to this elementary-school enrollment bubble.

One Mill Creek parent added, “I realize there is a budget, and that the state is not helpful. (But) any rational taxpayer would applaud that third section at Mill Creek.”

No! Any rational taxpayer would applaud Matt Henry’s all-too-obvious answer. To force District 304 taxpayers to foot the bill for unnecessary new teachers at one or two schools would be just another form of—you got it—welfare and, yes, socialism!

C’mon! Here’s a real opportunity to work together for the benefit of all District 304 taxpayers and make it reasonably palatable to everyone, but no! That GOP motto, “There is no sacrifice too small that we can’t whine about it,” has to rear its ugly head, even if it means, gasp, acting just like Democrats!

And if we can’t look past our own self-interest on something this simple, in this vastly small town, then God help us.

Greg H July 06, 2012 at 04:42 AM
This would allow the district to better allocate finite teaching resources and better maintain optimal class sizes. This should also be sustainable as class populations ebb & wane over time by allowing teachers to more efficiently track with the student population. So in the case of Mill Creek & Fabyan, the district could solve the K & 1st enrollment problems at both schools and consolidate undersized upper classes. If the population exceeds the capacity of the 2 buildings, you could then realign zoning to balance with neighboring schools set up in a similar fashion or justify the need for school expansion if necessary. If we do not solve this now in a thoughtful manner, we are certain to have the same emotional dialog in the near term for a completely different set of schools.
Greg H July 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Jack, You misunderstood my comments. We have 6 elementary schools. Half should do K-2 the other half do 3-5. No adding of schools only creating flexibility with finite education resources. If and only if the population grows to the point that the existing schools can not absorb students would you ever consider building again. First we MUST make the most efficient use of the assets we have. Reducing staff redundancy and under capacity classes is the necessary first step to keeping important programs while reducing waste.
Bob McQuillan July 06, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Greg H At first glance, your "out of the box" thinking of a k-2 & 3-5 system has merit and makes sense. The argument will be that Geneva operates under the neighborhood school concept and this would be a change in philosophy. But think about it, your concept would mean that everyone in the same age group would be together for 12 years. Aren't those the types of friendships that everyone wants for their kids? Maybe grades could even be mixed to serve the educational needs of the students! Here are some other "out of the box" thoughts: 1. offer all-day kindergarten at a cost to the parents. We certainly have the building space. Figure out what it costs to run a full day program and charge those parents that want it for their child. You could hire all the teachers you want as long as the program pays for itself. 2. solve the "perceived" over-crowding at the high school by making the current middle schools a 6 & 7th grade middle school and a 8 & 9th grade junior high school. Again you have plenty of space at the two middle schools since they are both @ 70% full to capacity. This would open up space at the high school for band rooms, music rooms, etc. 3. Take one of the elementary schools and make it a charter school offering advanced placement classes that the GEARS parents want. Children would need to test into the school and there would be an additional charge to each parent for their children to attend. Pay tuition and your gifted child has everything.
Bob McQuillan July 06, 2012 at 04:04 PM
4. Keep the gifted children in a current elementary school till 8th grade and then they move to the high school, still in a gifted program. It is my understanding that Geneva does not offer a truly gifted program at the high school level. Now we could. We could offer a Charter School gifted program within the walls of the current high school (if the 9th graders were moved to one of the current middle schools). There are many things that can be done within our current framework but people need to realize one thing ... we can't sustain the current spending levels in the Geneva School District. Like it or not, Geneva is a graying community and seniors can not afford ever increasing school taxes. If parents want "the extras" for their child, they must be willing to pay for them. We can no longer expect those without children in the district to support lavish spending. If, as many say, they moved here for the schools and expect to pay higher taxes then they need to pay for the services their child is receiving. To date, I haven't seen any real solutions to our financial problems from the administration or school board other than to keep increasing taxes. I have offered the 5-5-5 plan to cut spending and now I'm offering 4 ideas to restructure how we use our facilities. They might not be viable but at least they are ideas. Kicking the can down the street isn't going to work. We need ideas & solutions not cries that our students need more and more. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY
Chris B July 06, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I might be mistaken but I thought I read that the total cost of the turf field was a little over $1,000,000. Was all of that funded through private donation or did I misread the total figure?

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