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Letter to the Editor: Prop S Con: Buildings aren’t the answer to SPS’ problems

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Dear editor,

This is a letter reporting on the state of the Springfield R-12 Public School System. It is failing!

The [Missouri Assessment Program] test scores for the new Fremont Elementary, featuring open classrooms, are at the very bottom of all SPS elementary schools in math (9.4 percent proficiency, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education). By comparison, York Elementary, an old two-story building also with very high free and reduced lunch numbers, was sixth (at 56 percent) among all SPS elementaries – whatever their poverty rates. Likewise, Pershing Middle School, an old building, was top in math (48 percent proficient or advanced) while the new Westport was at the bottom of middle schools in student proficiency (14.2 percent).

The No. 1 root cause for failure is the superintendent. A further look at the superintendent’s failure is how he mismanages your tax dollars:
• $620,000 of original architect’s plans for Fremont were trashed;
• $350,000 paid to consultants MGT for framing the failed 2017 bond proposal;
• $450,000 for architect’s studies for the current bond proposal; and
• $430,000 for land acquisition for relocation of Boyd before the bond vote.

The total of the expenditures is $1.85 million. Not one brick to show for it.

Voting “no” means [John] Jungmann must go.

Recent news coverage [by the Springfield News-Leader] has drawn attention to pornography popping up on Chromebooks. They are a teaching tool, just as chalkboards once were, but chalkboards were never exposing kids to X-rated lessons.

Voting “no” keeps from adding one more tax increase on top of a recent one-half-cent sales tax for the jail, potential 20-year extension of the one-quarter-cent sales tax for city infrastructure and potential extended three-quarter cent sales tax for the police/fire pension fund. And, after the upcoming election, property reassessment letters will be issued with likely increases in valuations.

Voting “no” will save Portland Elementary from the bulldozer. The Portland site, at nine acres, has enough land to build a new Jarrett without closing Portland. That would save millions of dollars.

Everyone wants what is best for the kids. Teaching kids is more than buildings. Buildings do not teach. Teachers teach.

Vote NO.

—Carl E. Herd, of Springfield, a retired SPS math teacher

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