By Roy Dieck
I have been asked “What did we lose when we brought the upper grades from the rural schools to the city?” Some would say this was a big improvement in our District. I would disagree, and the academic results will prove me right. This was a time when we should have been “thinking out of the box” and we didn’t.
There are a few names that are very special to me: they are Weston, Strasser and Rusch. These are some of the teachers from Crestwood that were responsible for my five children being what they are today. It was their doing, not mine, that encouraged them to excel beyond anything I could have wished for. To this day, they get my hugs and thanks for their dedication. I believe this kind of relationship is lost when we close the neighborhood schools.
The Parent Teacher Association was a thriving and busy organization. I remember dozens in attendance to plan plays, carnivals, or just talk. Parents and teachers got to know each other. Discipline was a minor, not a major problem.
Crestwood School and all the other neighborhood schools had basketball teams that played each other rather than hauling teams far and wide for competition. When they got to high school, they knew how to play basketball. We played the big schools and won.
The same was true of football. Flag football was big deal of conversation when the boys came home from school. When they got to high school, they already knew how to play football. Gordy Schofield did the rest. We took on the big schools and won.
Consolidation has always been driven by one thing – money. That has been a tragic mistake. In my 40 years involved in this District’s affairs, I have never known a day when the school board had “enough money.” Without the school board getting a proper handle on their budget, the day will never come when we can properly pay the staff for the work they do.
I think it is important to remember the past. I am not suggesting that we can or even want to bring it back. I just hope that sometimes remembering the past might keep us from screwing up the future. There is little to gain from consolidation but a whole lot to lose.
Roy W. Dieck
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