I came to town in 1992, fresh out of college. A first year teacher, I really had no idea what I was in for at my small, independent, k-8 district: I thought I was going to work, but what I was really doing was becoming part of a family.
I had an apartment in the neighboring town, along the route to the high school. The first time I saw cardboard signs lining the streets with all the kids participating in a band competition, I knew I'd found home. Parents line these telephone poles every time kids make it to playoffs. Every. Time. I'd never seen such public support before. Sure, my class A high school celebrated within the halls, but it never stretched into people having no connection to the team. It didn't take me long to discover that my community believed in it's schools.
I came here because of a job, but I stayed because it became my life. I have lived, worked, cried, and celebrated with my friends, colleagues, and neighbors. I got married here, became a parent, and bought a house in my small district because I knew my kids would not only get a quality education but would also grow up surrounded by people who care for them. And now the school board is discussing closing my school down, and combining it with an equally small and unique district up the river.
This plan is not good for my kids, or my sunshines, or many of the students in either community. It will not save the kind of money that the budget needs to save to justify this level of upheaval on students. I can't support it emotionally, and I can't support it rationally. I don't deny that something needs to give, but it shouldn't be the students that give up the most.