By Paul Gorski
This article is in response to Eve Kirk’s “Guest Column: Proposed closure of Cherry Valley School: Do not go gentle into that good night” from the June 4-10, 2014, edition (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/06/04/guest-column-proposed-closure-of-cherry-valley-school-do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/).
Eve Kirk writes eloquently about her desire, and the desire of many Cherry Valley residents, to keep Cherry Valley School open. Not only would there be financial and cultural ramifications of closing the school, the school’s closure flies in the face of public opinion to develop more neighborhood schools.
Rockford’s urban sprawl is not Cherry Valley’s fault, so do not punish the residents of Cherry Valley by taking away one of the village’s most attractive assets: a neighborhood school. In this case, residents are not asking to create a new neighborhood school; residents are asking to keep an existing school open.
The expansion of White Swan School to accommodate more students would be costly in two ways. First, the school district will need to acquire, through eminent domain, six adjacent homes. Sure, the school district has planned for that, but has the district, village or county planned for the additional flooding that will occur on the other side of the street? The area across Bell School Road and south is already prone to flooding. Removing the lawns and covering the same land with new construction and pavement will only aggravate the existing flooding conditions in those neighborhoods.
Closing Cherry Valley School punishes Cherry Valley residents for Rockford’s poor urban planning and could have negative financial and flooding impacts on one or more Cherry Valley neighborhoods. I ask the Rockford Board of Education and administration to reconsider the closing of Cherry Valley School and look for alternative school expansion solutions.
Disclosure: I currently serve as a Cherry Valley Township trustee and have no decision-making authority regarding Rockford public schools. I offer my opinion as a resident of Cherry Valley Township.
Paul Gorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.
Posted June 10, 2014