Yuma District One parents speak out over Ham School closing
Yuma, Arizona November 9, 2011 - Parents with students at Mcgraw and Rolle Elementary Schools voiced their concerns at a public hearing at Yuma School District One's Board Room. They said closing Gwyneth Ham Elementary School will further burden their already packed classrooms.
"We want funding spent on teachers," explained a mother of a Kindergartner. "I have lots of friends who private school their kids and homeschool their kids solely because of our numbers in our classrooms right now. They will not send their kids to the school with 32 Kindergartners."
Ham School parents also worry about the possible closure too. A father whose family lives within walking distance of Ham School told District One board members the dangers of his child walking to a school further away.
"My son is currently a Kindergartner at Gwyneth Ham Elementary School. It is in this capacity as a concerned parent that I come before you today, asking you to oppose closing Gwyneth Ham or any other school from District One at this time."
Other parents expressed concerns over District One administration's spending $14,000 on a study by ARCADIS, the independent consulting firm that suggested the district close Ham School. They also asked why the administration is not following ARCADIS' recommendation of transferring Ham students to other district schools. Among the district schools, the study listed Rolle, Otondo, and Desert Mesa.
"I'm questioning how we got to the decision to put students in McGraw and Rolle instead of these other schools if we're following their recommendation," said Eliana Osborn, a concerned Rolle parent. "McGraw was never listed."
Superintendent Dr. Darwin Stiffler explained to the parents in attendance and the governing board.
"That's a fair question. The reason we paid them was not necessary that they did a complete study on our attendance boundaries," said Superintendent Stiffler. "What they did was to study its usage and how should the facilities be used."
Parents wanted District One's Governing Board to consider their arguments to keep Ham Elementary open.
"I'm asking you not to vote on this until we get a recommendation from the State. I feel strongly about that and I hope you make your decision and search it out," said concerned Rolle parent, Lara Smith.
"I don't think there's any conflict. It's really a technicality about where should the kids go," explained Superintendent Stiffler. "The recommendation was clearly to close Gwyneth Ham School. And the administration has been considering that since June."
A former District One board member says the current board has a big job ahead of them.
"They need to look at the cause and effect as to why students are leaving this district," said Gary Wright, a retired teacher. "And if students are leaving this district, it's very reflective of the school board and it's very reflective on the administration."
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
Daisy Cortes was in court earlier this week through her attorney asked for her bond to be reduced. According to published reports her attorney reported to the court that Ms. Cortes was unaware of her fathersMore >>
Daughter of suspected gunman has day in courtMore >>
The most haunted island on earth is a small island right off the coast of Venice, Italy called ‘The Island Of Poveglia. It's beautiful and deserted but it was also a body dumping ground a few hundred yearsMore >>
Spacious Island for sale; includes hotel. May need exorcism. More >>
Living in the desert southwest it's not uncommon to here our military doing what they do best. Just in case; don't be alarmed if you hear low flying aircrafts and jets flying by. This week alone you'llMore >>
Jesus Hernandez-Carlon stood before a judge to be formally charged; Carlon was arrested Monday night after a witness identified him as the man who robbed him at gun point outside a Yuma restaurant. AccordingMore >>
Man suspected of robbing someone at gun-point outside a Yuma restaurant was in court. More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Yuma police say a dead woman was found in a car parked at Food City on 8th Street on Tuesday night, at around 6:20 p.m. Police are investigating her cause of death andMore >>
Yuma police are investigating the death of a woman who was found in a parked car Tuesday night.More >>
Mexicali--Mexican police found a partially constructed drug tunnel near the U.S. border in Mexicali. Police said the tunnel was presumably being built by drug traffickers. Mexicali's police chief saidMore >>
Mexican police found a partially constructed drug tunnel near the U.S. border in Mexicali. More >>