Since the publication of “Will they close Silverthorne school?” published in the Houston Today Dec. 6, 2017 issue, I have had some interesting and intellectual conversations with community members on their thoughts of the matter.
In short, my personal opinion is to amalgamate the two schools.
My argument is based on the facts that were stated at the facilities review meeting, which indicated that it is not feasible to keep a second elementary school open based on the cost of facility maintenance and the current percentage of student capacity and enrollment in Houston.
More importantly, there is a risk to student education if funds have to be pulled from the fixed funding schools receive for operational and education costs, because the fixed amount of $654,000 received for the maintenance of 11 facilities is not enough.
Silverthorne Elementary School has done an incredible job with their education service and involvement within the community. I wonder if there is more of a fear of loosing that legacy if it were to close?
Even with the possibilities of new industry coming to Houston—especially with the three recent mineralization opportunities at the Sterling Property, Silver Ace, and Silver Queen—you are still risking the quality of education to the students currently within the school system, over the uncertainty of an increase in student enrollment.
From what I understand, there is a lot of concern about the social challenges to students if Grade 7 was moved into the highschool, and what would reduction of staff look like if the schools amalgamated.
If the community wants to fight to keep Silverthorne open, then hopefully the government will support this through the Rural Education Enhancement fund.
If that support is not given, then I think it would be beneficial for community members to begin brainstorming the needs and structure they would like to see an amalgamation of two schools look like, to provide the best social and academic education to the students within our community.
The School District 54 board of education is tasked with the weight of a decision that every person in this community has an investment on.
I do trust that both the board of education and administration have done their due dilgence. You have my support.