The economic instability of the past decade has impacted communities in so many different ways. The number of people that are unemployed is on the rise. The number of people using food banks and social services is on the rise. And state or city funding to various establishments is being substantially deceased. One of the ways that regional and state governments are reducing their debts is by closing schools. There are a significant number of states closing schools. Closing schools has had both negative and positive consequences on the community as a whole.
The governing body of the school board selects the schools that will be closed based on several criteria; the student population, the age of the school and the location of the school. If the school is either under-populated, in a building that is unsafe or in need of a large number of repairs or in an area where there is a multitude of schools already serving the same grades, the local school board may make the decision to close the school and have the student reassigned to other schools.
The benefits of closing schools
One of the major benefits of closing schools and reassigning the students to other schools is that a school closure reduces the overhead costs that the school board has to pay for that school. Operating costs such as water and electricity will no longer have to be accounted for, as the school will no longer in use. School closures also reduce the amount of funding the school board needs to provide for things like lunch programs, school libraries and sporting clubs.
Also, the school board will not have to allocate administrative and teaching resources to a school that did not meet the minimum student quota. The funds that the school board saves by closing a school can be allocated to other programs within other schools that may be being neglected due to a lack of funding. The savings for closing schools provides a significant amount of money for a school board.
The disadvantages to closing schools
Closing schools can result in an overpopulation of other schools. Moving students from a school that is under capacity to a school that is at capacity will result in a larger number of students that what the administrative and teaching staff planned for. The student to teacher ratio will be disproportionate and this can provide detrimental to students that require extra attention. The students that require additional assistance throughout the day may not get all the awareness that they need in order to be productive.
Also, closing schools impacts the morale of a community. Closing schools not only impacts the current students but also the teachers, administrative staff, and auxiliary workers that work there. By closing schools, many teachers, administrative staff, and auxiliary workers such as janitors and bus drivers are becoming unemployed. This is especially the case with the teachers that teach specialized subjects such as music or languages as the school board may elect not to have these teachers move on to a new role in a new school due to budget constraints.
In conclusion, the short term impact of closing schools results in a significant savings and budget reductions for a school board. They are able to reduce their deficits and provide programs for the remaining schools. However, the disadvantages of closing schools greatly outweigh the benefits of the school closures. Overcrowded schools, reduced specialized academic and liberal arts programming and reduced one on one interaction between the student and teacher are all the direct result of school closures. The students are the ones that suffer when schools are closed so that the school board can save money.
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