Look for creative ways to save our schools
To the Editor:
I graduated from Aldrich High School in 1955, the last class to do so. My father was Harold F. Scott, the first principal of both Aldrich in 1935 and Warwick Veterans Memorial High School in 1955. I moved away from Warwick shortly after graduating from college. I spent most of my years working in the Philadelphia suburbs and served on an elected school board from 1990 through 1997. If there is one thing I learned, it is that it is very difficult to predict school enrollment, even two to three years in the future. Radnor Township in Pennsylvania started building schools in the mid-1950s and started closing them in the mid-1970s, including selling both buildings and land of two of its four elementary schools. When I was on the school board, we had to buy land at an expensive price to build a new elementary school.
I am not familiar with the detailed economics of the school closings. But, it appears that the proposal is to close Aldrich and Gorton junior high schools and then convert Warwick Veterans Memorial High School from a high school to a junior high school. It appears that children aged 12 to 14 will endure a much longer bus ride to Vets, particularly from the Aldrich area. After spending three years making friends at a super-sized junior high school, they would then be split into two groups to attend Pilgrim or Toll Gate High Schools. Disrupting their lives in this manner would only make the early teenage years more difficult than they already are.
I know that if my father were alive today that he would try to find a creative solution to the problem. One might be to keep all three schools open, possibly renting out parts of one or more of the schools for an appropriate use.