We graduated from Sevastopol High School. So many people in our families can lay claim to that; grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins. The school is ingrained in our lives and our community. It is in our DNA.
For those new to Door County, enjoying retirement or building a business, if you haven’t had any experience with a rural school district, you might be unaware of how central our schools are to who we are and why we support them so passionately.
Sevastopol has provided generations of children a great education and a path to success in later life. But its value is far greater. In communities such as ours, the school is the social and cultural hub – it provides sports, theater, music and an assortment of opportunities to gather. The school is something we have in common. It unites, enriches and sustains the community.
Some say Sevastopol is too expensive and too small to remain viable. Consolidate, they say. That option has been well explored, and Sturgeon Bay and Gibraltar districts aren’t pushing consolidation for lots of reasons – the very same reasons Sevastopol has found this is not the best path for its students or taxpayers – particularly the uncertainty of the fiscal, educational impacts. They also don’t want to dilute their own identity or surrender local autonomy, just like Sevastopol.
There is no solid evidence that consolidation improves educational outcomes. Smaller classes, in smaller schools, generally equate to higher academic achievement, such as Sevastopol’s status as a National Blue Ribbon School. The environment of the rural school – cousins studying with cousins, teachers tending to each other’s children, grandparents supporting their grandchildren – cannot be measured in dollars or test scores.
When a rural school district is allowed to slowly die for lack of support, part of the community dies, too. That’s why your “yes” vote Nov. 6 is so vital.
Arlene and Jim Junion, West Jacksonport, Wis.; Bill and Mary Junion; Jacob Junion, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Shaun and Allison (Junion) Neuman, Brussels, Wis.; Cambria Peggar; Jayden Sawyer; Josh and Carissa Sawyer; David and Karen Schartner, Egg Harbor, Wis.