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Prepare now for decline in student enrollment

Posted: December 11, 2011 - 10:54am  |  Updated: December 12, 2011 - 10:57am

A recent report from the school district that student enrollment is expected to continue to decline — by more than 500 students in the next five years — should give Peninsula residents food for thought. While the district expects losses to be spread out across the Peninsula, the number is equal to the current enrollment at the area’s largest high school.

What that means is this: the district administration, borough government and the public need to prepare to make some very difficult decisions in the very near future.

School configuration is never an easy topic, and this area provides no easy answers. Ideas that worked well 20 years ago may not be practical going forward. Change is hard to manage, particularly when the perception of the loss of something special, such as school identity, is involved.

We encourage the school board and district administration to continue to be proactive in addressing this issue. Over the years, district administrators have had to become experts in efficiency as well as education. Certainly, the next few years will put that experience to the test.

We also encourage the school district to be proactive with regard to preparing the public for upcoming changes. Begin educating Peninsula residents now of the pros and cons of potential changes to the way in which education is delivered. While it might not make decisions any easier, an informed community will be able to better contribute to the process.

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