Editor's Note: This letter is in response to the approving the creation of a STEAM magnet program at Olson Elementary School in Golden Valley for next school year.
Having served on the RAS Divestiture Committee, I can speak to the two reasons that Olson was not recommended for sale immediately. First, it was a possible site for students from Northport or Lakeview during remodeling (no longer needed with the remodeling being done over many summers). Second, other being as a possible site of a magnet school, but only if financially sound both short & long-term.
I disagree with the decision to open a STEAM magnet school at Olson site. The reasons are;
1.) The over $2,200,000 cumulative cost is not fully paid back for 10 years.
2.) The money used is being TAKEN from other programs, which could be used to reduce the LARGE opportunity/achievement gap.
3.) The District needs to concentrate on its current student’s achievement, not on creating another lottery based school that benefits a few (500) at the cost of MANY (thousands) students!!
The proposal of a school within a school for STEM/STEAM is a better use of limited resources that will benefit many more students, cost less and allow for two additional EXCESS buildings (Olson & Pilgrim Lane) to be sold, which will create additional revenue to be used to pay for Northport or Lakeview or other capital costs.
I believe that the FIRST responsibility of our school district is to provide a great education to all students, not a select few. Education of students is the primary function of public education and NOT employment for adults.
I encourage all residents of RAS to contact the Superintendent and all school board members to express your feeling directly.
Ron Stoffel, New Hope
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