Letter: Don’t merge Knox Middle, Overton Elementary

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 9, 2020

The plan to merge Knox Middle and Overton Elementary seems wrong-headed, particularly if the argument is this is to stop bullying.

Putting kindergartners in proximity to middle school students will do nothing to stop bullying, but may increase it since the age groups involved have different agendas, making younger folks prey to older and “wiser” kids. The proposed merger doubles the school size and allows students to get lost.

The overwhelming rationale for the merger is the supposed lack of funds to keep neighborhood schools operating. What a tragedy that it is all about money. One solution is to look at existing schools and look at zones where each community could maintain some neighborhood connection but effectively represent more diversity and identity for such. 

Smaller schools would be ideal. However, as more parents go for school choice and fewer babies are being born, the public schools will look poorer and browner than many might like to see.

Spending $50 million for a new school, which is almost two-thirds of the county’s allocated money, decreases the likelihood that all schools will have access to school nurses or psychologists. 

The old P. L. Dunbar Center was a  centralized place which should have been used as a center of excellence for testing, psychological services, alternative education and other ancillary services.  Rather than close North Rowan High School, maybe it could help fulfill that need.

Look up to realize the possibilities of retrofitting spaces, charter schools within schools and other innovative approaches to education. Help parents to better help their children. It isn’t all about the money — it’s putting in the time.

Ada Fisher