Dear Editor:

I would like to say thank you to the West Carroll Board of Education for the opportunity to present information, concerns and questions over the two meetings concerning the West Carroll building consolidation.

We have received several comments from West Carroll parents, but I wanted to send you a comment made by one parent that I found very moving.

“Meetings are so frustrating to attend. A lot of folks are hiding behind ‘for the kids’ statement yet would rather win an argument point and spin the truth than actually look at fresh ideas with clear eyes. As you know, sometimes the best leader stands up and admits a mistake which earns trust. The BOE appears defensive at every turn. 

“As a citizen, I care where attendance centers are located, etc. As a parent, I don’t care where buildings are located as long as I am shown a sensible plan that all options were thoroughly vetted and will improve my child’s school experience/education. The district is not providing anything to convince me closing the WCHS will help my child. They appear to expect the public to blindly trust them when their communications/actions continually erode trust. And why doesn’t the teacher’s statement against closure hold more weight?!?”

I want to reiterate again, as I did the very first meeting I spoke, if the administration and the board would provide information to prove this is best for the district, I am all in.  I still stand by that, but unfortunately, to date, we have not seen any plans to help me or the public understand the consolidation of school buildings.

The lack of transparency during this process adds to the public mistrust.  Our group has been left to dig in and do the research, gathering and analyzing information on all of the building conditions, building logistics, staffing, educational capacity, and finances that does not warrant the consolidation for the next school year.  

Lowering population has been brought up on several occasions, but the numbers are not selling any of us on the administration’s plan. Our enrollment is up 18 kids as of March 1 (ISBE), the City of Mount Carroll administration has stated there will be growth to the region, the LRA is working hard to develop the previous Savanna Army Depot, and the Thomson AUSP as well as other local businesses (Metform/Elkay) are actively hiring. And it must be stated, that all of our community leaders are working very hard on economic development and an improved quality of life to grow our population bases.

We look forward to presenting on West Carroll finances on March 18 and hope the questions brought to the administration and board of education will be answered. 

Tony McCombie