Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

School Board’s ‘closed enrollment’ policy a wise one

It’s human nature for people to be drawn to what they perceive as the ‘latest and greatest.’
So it’s no wonder that the floodgates opened when Washington County opened its first new schools in many years.
New and modern, sleek and shiny, Grandview and Ridgeview schools were appealing. No doubt, families residing in those school districts became the envy of parents throughout the county.
Everyone wanted their kids to go to the new schools. And they did. Before long, the very classrooms designed to alleviate overcrowding were becoming part of the problem.
Two other popular, but crowded schools, Lamar and Gray, are also in high demand.
As a result, those four schools reached capacity and the school system agreed it was time to close enrollment at Lamar, Gray, Ridgeview and Grandview.
However, during recent months, a number of parents who live outside the district have requested special consideration to allow their children to attend one of the four schools. And in almost all of those cases, their requests were approved by the school board.
That’s likely not to be the case any longer, though. At its June meeting, the Washington County School Board decided to put the brakes on allowing out-of-district student enrollment.
The system had already set strict criteria for admittance to a closed enrollment school —students who live in the school boundary with a legal guardian or have a legal guardian who works at the school; special education or IEP placement; the family is moving into or building a home within the boundary. And at the recent meeting, they voted to make it an official policy of the board.
We support the Board of Education in this decision. Supported by only criteria in place, it was all too easy and tempting for school administrators to bend the rules in case-by-case situations.
Now, as an official board policy, the closed enrollment status of those schools should be more easily preserved.
It has been proven that students learn best when the teacher-pupil ratio is the lowest. By taking this action, the board members did exactly what they were elected to do.
By limiting additional enrollment at schools that are already bulging at the seams they are taking action to provide the best possible learning conditions for students in Washington County.
Plus, it serves as a reminder that a school doesn’t need to be brand new to offer the best level of education possible.
West View School, for instance, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
While it might not be the most modern facility in the Washington County School system, West View School, like so many other older schools, has something those shiny new schools can’t offer — an education steeped in history and tradition.
There is a unique value to attending such a school and students who go there should not be made to feel inferior just because theirs is not the newest school in the system.