I am writing in response to the Bemidji School Board's decision to reduce Horace May Elementary School's fourth grade to two sections. I do not envy your position and the decisions you have to make in order to meet the budget. However, some decisions are probably easier to reach when your own children are not involved. I am referring to at least one board member's directive to Superintendent Hess to balance these two classrooms. Superintendent Hess, in turn, gave the directive to Horace May's principal to send letters home to the parents of six students, whose neighborhood school is not Horace May, that they "will not be allowed" to attend Horace May in the fall. This only affects students currently in third grade at Horace May.
This is the only school these students have known. They have developed relationships, not only with peers, but the staff at Horace May. To "kick" these students out is not healthy for a child's education. Not only that, it increases class sizes at the other schools to 30-plus students. So really the problem of class size is not being fixed, it is simply being moved to another building.
After speaking with the other parents, four of them are moving their children to homes inside the Horace May area. Another parent had previously received permission from Superintendent Hess to openly enroll the student at Horace May because of a safety issue at the resident school. This leaves one student who will be ripped away from his or her school, friends and siblings.
Whose interest did you have in mind when you gave this directive to give these kids "the boot"? Was it the child's? I don't think so. Was it to save jobs -- possibly? This directive not only affects Horace May, but it will also impact Lincoln and Northern. Are they calling back the seven Horace May third-graders who are openly enrolled elsewhere in the district? No.
Parents of students who are openly enrolled in the Bemidji School District beware! The School Board and superintendent could choose to do this to any of your children too! Now is the time to speak up. Neither the principal nor the parents agree with the decision to kick out students of Horace May. Let our School Board members and superintendent know this is not okay. Parents should be the ones making decisions for their children.