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Commentary: Keep Southeast open, invest in renovations

  • Published Sunday, April 14, 2013, at 12 a.m.

The following commentary was submitted by David Robbins, president of the Fabrique Neighborhood Association; Gerald Graves, president of the Grandview Heights Neighborhood Association; Gail Emley, president of the Fairfax Neighborhood Association; Jim Skelton, president of the East Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association; Paul F. Bradley, president of the Eastridge Neighborhood Association; and Holly Nelson, president of the Meadowlark Neighborhood Association:

There has been much discussion within the community regarding Southeast High School and whether the Wichita school board should invest funds into renovating the current facility or build a new high school at 127th Street East and Pawnee. As residents of the neighborhoods that are near Southeast, we strongly encourage the school board to keep Southeast open and spend the school bond dollars on much-needed and much-deserved renovations.

According to the USD 259 website: “The journey toward school selection begins based on the home address of a student. All addresses in the Wichita school district are assigned to a neighborhood elementary, middle and high school.” The children in our neighborhoods have the unique opportunity to attend a high school close to their home: Southeast. We believe that is important for children, important for families and important to maintain a strong, vibrant “inner city.”

Neighborhoods decline when buildings become empty and sit and deteriorate over time. If Southeast is closed, we fear this will happen.

We do not believe the school district has made a strong, compelling case for building a new school when compared with the negative impacts of closing Southeast. The children will no longer have a neighborhood school, which means increased transportation costs for the school district and increased transportation costs and time for families. If the school district continues to push to the fringe without reinvestment in inner-city facilities, then our neighborhoods will suffer.

Southeast keeps our children in our neighborhoods and community, instead of moving them out.

Since 1957, we have been proud to be home to the Golden Buffaloes, and as is said in the alma mater, “Our hearts are held in grand allegiance to your every cause.”

We stand united in grand allegiance to preserving Southeast High School.

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