Just a few things, after a day and a night of comments have rolled in, and after a few Lake Highlands friends and I talked.
Firstly, I’d like to congratulate most of you (save one, but we talked it out) for remaining civil. From what I understand, this issue is contentious and has even resulted in the ending of friendships.
Secondly, and related to the anger, is this: Both sides can feel the way they do about the issue, and both feelings can still be valid. You can feel that your children would be perfectly safe at that school, and the other side can feel their children wouldn’t be. You can feel that you were heard and the other side feel frustrated and that they weren’t. That’s the meaning of different perspectives.
Sadly, I fear that one of the things everyone tells me they love about White Rock Valley – the neighborly attitude and friendly atmosphere – is falling by the wayside. That’s a shame. A home is at least a 30-year commitment, and it seems as if this school may be consigning some to 30 years of living next to people they can’t forgive. Words can cause rifts, or they can be a balm that smooths over differences so neighbors can still be friends. Some would do well to remember this before they hop online to comment.
Thirdly, I reached out to the district, and printed verbatim its response. Tim Clark, the district’s spokesman, emailed me this morning with some clarifications, which I’m going to again print verbatim at the bottom of this piece. I am happy to talk to someone (at length) about their feelings about the school, but I did provide both links and words of the district’s side. I’ve reached out to We Need a School (if anyone knows a member of this group and can nudge them to look at their Facebook messages, that would be super helpful), and as soon as they respond, I will be providing their perspective as well in a separate piece.
And now, as promised, Clark’s response:
“The article suggests that a committee was formed to hear out concerns related to the site, which is not accurate. There’s a FAQ on the LH Growth website that goes into more detail, but Dr. Stone met with neighborhood association leaders and WRE parent group leaders to hear their feedback and ideas related to attendance boundaries of the new school. There is not a plan for the group to meet again or to work to arrive at recommendations.
A group of stakeholders called the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee was formed in February and met in the spring to arrive at formal recommendations related to elementary enrollment growth that eventually led to RISD pursuing construction of two new elementary schools in Lake Highlands. There is comprehensive information on the work of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee available on the LH Growth website.
The meeting with neighborhood and parent group leaders occurred last week and represented another avenue to communicate with and receive feedback from the leadership of the different stakeholder groups impacted by the eventual attendance boundaries of the new school. Dr. Stone will be sharing the feedback from the meeting at an upcoming RISD Board meeting.
Also, all current trustees have visited the WRT site.”