Letter to the Ava R-I Board of Education

(read during the Thursday, June 16 meeting, by Sarah Key):

I have always been proud of our community and the way people step up to help each other in difficult circumstances or tragedies and I still am. But lately, I have begun to feel like we are living in the midst of our own reality show based on all the animosity and bitterness that has developed over the transportation issue.

This school year has been very difficult for all of us. Decisions made, as well as a lack of resolution, have taken an enormous toll on our community, the families we serve, and has very negatively impacted the climate of our school.

Change is always hard and, honestly, none of us like it. This school is here for the children in our community. Our purpose is to serve the kids not the teachers, not the custodial staff, not the cafeteria staff, not the administrators, and not the bus drivers. We’re here for the children.

As school staff and educators, we are constantly asked to change: sometimes big changes, sometimes small, but all of those changes are made with much thought for what is best for our kids.

Hard changes have occurred for the teachers, aides, custodial staff, and kitchen staff in the form of many job reductions and job eliminations. As enrollment dropped, this difficult decision became the financially responsible thing to do. The school district is the steward of our taxpayers’ dollars. The taxpayers and the state need to know that the school makes every decision with great thought to what is best for our children and what is financially responsible.

We are all asked to do more with less. Going to the new Option for transportation would save the district a great deal of money. The savings of $150,000-$200,000 a year would have a direct and very positive impact on the education of our children, allowing additional supplies much needed by students and teachers.

This process has been very difficult and very demoralizing. We hope a resolution can be reached quickly. Compromise involves all parties conceding something and, therefore, all parties should benefit. All decisions should be made, first and foremost, with consideration of the needs of all the children in our district. After all, the kids are who we are all supposed to be here for!

Sincerely,

Sarah Key