April 1983

Board debates closing schools

   There was standing room only in the Maine South Auditorium April 11. Parents, teachers, and students filled the auditorium to hear the Building and Grounds committee present facts and proposals concerning District 207's options in the future to the Board of Education.
   Dr. Bill DeYoung, from Ohio State University, did a study of the district to find out the cost efficient and practical way to operate the schools. He took into account enrollment, staff requirements, the value of each high school and possible options the board would have to save money.
   DeYoung came up with two alternatives. The first would be a three-building configuration. In it, South West and North would be open, allowed fro the greatest amount of flexibility in the school system. Maine East could be sold or leased in a long- or short-term arrangement. In each case, having one school as a revenue source would alleviate much of the taxpayers' burden.
   Another alternative would be a two-building configuration containing either East and West or South and West. A third school would remain under District 207's ownership in case a need for it ever arose.
   There is much controversy surrounding these issues. Many faults lie in the two alternatives. We already have a three-building configuration, would it be practical in the long run to fund the reopening of one school and the closing of another? Also to be taken into consideration are the community ties to a school and the disruptions involved in closing it. The feelings and emotions involved in this issue was one topic of heated debate last Monday.
   ...The majority of the audience represented Maine East High School. Students had come to show their support for their school, most wearing blue and white. Some students even had their faces decorated with Maine East war paint. The adults from the Maine East area were no less supportive. Many addressed the board, pointing out the emotional and nostalgic ties the community has to Maine East. Views in support of the two alternatives were not as numerous as those opposing. Cheers and jeers were heard from the audience, and oftentimes the speaker from the board had to remind people that this meeting was a hearing, not a public rally....