Save Mission Valley group makes closing argument for keeping school open

After nearly a month and a half of campaigning, the group of local parents hoping to convince the Shawnee Mission board of education to keep Mission Valley open have entered their final appeal.

With just a week left before the board casts its deciding vote, the Save Mission Valley group released a list of four recommendations that it hopes will convince the board they can achieve the efficiencies desired by district administrators without closing the school. In its statement, the group calls on the board to commit itself to creating “exemplary” schools instead of “adequate and equitable” ones.

“If all of the four proposals outlined below are adopted by the board of education, we believe that the district can address its budget issues in a more effective manner, and also create a long–term solution to addressing the individual needs of schools and communities and maintain the well-earned reputation of the district,” the statement says.

Read the entire statement and see the four proposals after the jump.

The parent group “SAVE MISSION VALLEY” makes their final appeal to the Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education to reject the proposals for boundary changes and closing Mission Valley Middle School . The Save Mission Valley Committee recommends four inter-related actions to the Board that will address short-term budget issues and longer-term planning.

The group believes the Board needs to communicate to the Administration that the planning and budgeting emphasis should be “what will make each school exemplary” instead of “trickling-down” the failed State policy of “adequate & equitable” funding to neighborhood schools. The principle of “adequate & equitable” has not created more value in this District. In fact, as a State policy, it has held this District back and penalized its students.

The District’s demographics have changed significantly over the last 10 years. These changes need to be addressed on a school by school basis. The thinking is simple: if the needs of each school are different from the needs of the other schools, resources necessary to make each school exemplary are also going to be different. Creating a system of exemplary schools for the next 25 years should include raising and allocating resources based on those unique needs.

If all of the four proposals outlined below are adopted by the Board of Education, we believe that the District can address its budget issues in a more effective manner, and also create a long–term solution to addressing the individual needs of schools and communities and maintain the well-earned reputation of the District.

1. Keep and Support Successful Schools by Voting NO on Proposals 1 and 10

* Flawed data
* Overestimates cost-savings
* Damages high-performing schools
* Creates safety issues and overcrowding
* Wide-spread community opposition
* Missed opportunity for community support and problem-solving

2. Aggressively Pursue Non-Traditional Funding Sources

* Proactive campus-level fundraising
* Voluntary check-off on utility bills
* Voluntary check-off at real estate closings
* Endowment on par with higher-education
* Increased fees on non-instructional services
* Enhanced city-county-schools tax strategies

3. Aggressively Pursue Cost Cutting in Non-Instructional Areas

* Utility management to Best Practice standards
* Information technology administrative costs
* Consolidate general administration facilities

4. Plan and Budget for “Exemplary Schools”

* Establish world-class standards for ALL schools
* Build program and budget models that reflect enhanced expectations and changing demographics
* Focus on students and learning instead of the state funding limitations
* Engage and embrace patrons