Letter to the Editor

Class I confusion

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dear Editor,

It seems that there is much confusion on the closing of the Class I (Rural elementary) schools.

Red Willow County stands alone with one Class I school left in Southwest Nebraska. This is not entirely bad, since all the other schools were closed by a VOTE of the taxpayers of that district.

There are over 200 Class I schools still open in Nebraska that are being forced to assimilate into the larger K- 12 district without a vote of their patrons.

This is being done by the passage of LB 126, even after being vetoed by the governor.

Most Class I schools are K-8 elementary schools and provide an alternative for parents who are not satisfied with the larger classes of their K-12 district. LB 126 requires these schools to NOT be closed under certain rules, but be administrated by the K-12 districts.

This is not a good situation since it takes away local control from the Class I district.

District 8 school in Red Willow County has chosen to remain open under very difficult circumstances and make a very fine school available to those wishing to attend.

Classes are small with a lot of undivided attention and offer things the K-12 district doesn't, like art and computer classes and an after school program.

Hopefully LB 126 will be repealed in the November election and these small schools wi11 return to their administrative authority which would be local control.

LB 176 takes away local control and will not stop there. With this power they now have created a whole new concept of school reorganization.

In Omaha with LB 1024, reorganization was done without the vote of the people.

What this means is that there will be a complete lack of local control in Omaha. LB 1024 created "Learning Communities" with a super-board not elected by patrons and having taxing authority not voted on by the people.

This concept will continue throughout the state, and district boundaries and local control will be a thing of the past.

LB 126 and LB 1024 are just the tip of the iceberg and I urge you to get involved and help stop this trend by signing the (white) "initiative petition" which allows no closing of any school without the vote of the patrons and the "green petition" which returns all Class 1 schools to their original authority.

Please remember that the school issue goes much deeper than just schools. It is a constitutional issue involving the right to vote.

There will be people carrying petitions and if you need someone to come to your home, we can do that, too.

Richard Klein

District 8 School

Class I's United

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