Sitting at the Helena School Board Retreat Tuesday morning I watched as Trustee Cherche Prezeau stated her position that she wants regional community centers that are open until 8:30 at night,instead of the neighborhood schools that we now have in Helena.If Trustee Prezeau was going to pay for these centers herself and then spend her time volunteering there and organizing other volunteers this would still be a very bad idea, but at least you could respect her for being a caring and dedicated person. What is REALLY distasteful is that this individual seems to think of herself as a caring individual while using her position to FORCE YOU TO PAY FOR IT!! Kind of like her oh so righteous position on forcing our School District health plan to accept partners who are not legally married. Trustee Prezeau is not on this horrible health plan and she does not have to pay for it, or suffer the consequences of what she did to the health care and costs of the people on the plan.
The idea behind regional community centers is to turn our school buildings into "one stop shopping" for all social needs, not only of the school children, but also for the community at large. This would be not only for those who are not school age, but also for those who don't even have school age children in the household. HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT FOR OUR SCHOOLS??
First of all, it takes the primary, and certainly the only reason we build and staff schools, that of EDUCATION FOR OUR SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN,and establishes EDUCATION as only an adjunct to other tasks that will be involved at the location, the former SCHOOL BUILDING.In that transformation it moves the EDUCATION of our children out of the primary role of the location, to a department within the building.To illustrate this concept, think of a building which is made up of different departments, which shares the same resource, the children.In a manner this is already happening. The Helena Education system now allows access to the children by numerous non-profit(and FOR PROFIT) entities. These entities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or Food Share depend on "head count" for their funding-the schools are a goldmine for them.The students time is shared at the expense of their classroom learning time. As a teacher I remember having to give up students and class time almost constantly. The non-profits took precedence over teachers and teaching.
Now, Trustee Prezeau and others such as Trustee O'Neil (State president of AWARE - a non-profit umbrella organization for Youth Connections and Head Start) want to double down on depleting education time by making the former school, a location where non-profits RESIDE. These non-profits have the authority to come into classrooms and pull individual students or whole classes away from their education, to serve whatever need the non-profit has to enhance their own funding stream.
If you want your child's education to be a "department" within the "building" that will be haunted by non-profits trolling for headcount, then you want the "regional community center" concept.If you want "schools" which take children in the early morning hours and keep them until bedtime, completely replacing the family, with education being a "catch as catch can" proposition,"schools" that share building space and children with "favored" non-profits, then regional community centers are for you. If you want your "schools" to have to bulk up security for 14-16 hours of the day, because with the presence of the non-profits you get people wandering in looking for "services", then this is your program.
However, if you want EDUCATION to be the reason you have a "school" building, and the reason these buildings have earned the position as the number one item on your property tax bill, then you need to ask the school board you voted for why they want millions more DOLLARS to construct new larger buildings to house offices and activities that rob our children of their EDUCATION.
Elections have consequences. Get involved, get people elected to your school board that have common sense and the interests of you and your children's EDUCATION at heart, instead of socialist ideological agendas that support outside interests and their money chasing goals.