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posted: 3/11/2012 9:36 AM

Heavy-handed answer to school crowding

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Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 administrators' proposed "solution" for Franklin Middle School overcrowding (and their implementation of it) smacks of heavy-handedness, hidden motives, poor prioritization, arrogance, discrimination, incompetence, deception, and cowardice. But it's hard to say which word best explains how administrators came to their decision.

"Heavy-handedness" best describes the proposal's implementation. The problem has been brewing for years, but administrators hope to ram their destructive nonsolution through in two months without any real discussion, thereby freezing parents out of the process.

The proposal involves separating a few unlucky children from all of their classmates and sending them to Monroe. By administrators' own calculations, it won't solve Franklin overcrowding. (Incompetence.) But the proposal affects only an unincorporated neighborhood and apartments. (Discrimination.) A better solution would affect more students, which could mean more frustrated parents. (Cowardice.)

Does a better solution exist that keeps kids together? Yes, but it requires several more buses. "Too expensive," administrators assured us, but four buses (0.05 percent of the budget) are, relatively speaking, quite cheap. (Deception.) Unless keeping kids together is not important. (Poor prioritization.) What's the real goal here? (Hidden motives.)

Seeking to understand administrators' reasoning, I submitted a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for all documents related to their proposal. They sent me four pages with calculations pertaining to the apartments. Do all unpleasant solutions begin and end with the apartments? (Discrimination.) But administrators stated on record that they considered several other options. (Deception.) Did they not trouble themselves with calculations involving those other options? (Incompetence.) Or did they just feel no need to comply with Illinois state law regarding my FOIA request? (Arrogance.)

School districts were formed for the sake of children, but this decision smacks of a reversed logic. Perhaps our school board can remind district administrators of where their proper priorities ought to lie.

Brian Wells


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