Letter to Editor:

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

To District 404 Board of Education,

Congratulations on your election to the new school board! We recognize the vastness of decisions that lay ahead. The decisions yoau make will have an economic impact on every taxpayer in this district.

The recommendation in 'A Study of The Potential Reorganization of Westmer, CUSD #203 and Aledo CUSD #201', prepared by Dr. Harold Ford, Mr. William Schehl, and Mr. Tom Steele is clearly stated as 'Building to be Closed Westmer Junior/Senior High School.' The calculations for operating fund savings, also a report of this study states, 'savings by closing Westmer Junior Senior High savings at $3.28 per square foot, $241,419.12.

The reorganization study further projected a savings of $450,000 in reductions from six teaching and one administrative position.

Trisha Hank, newly elected secretary of the board, noted during the Nov. 25, 2008 meeting that collectively the board is made up of a group of volunteers. The study of the reorganization of Westmer and Aledo was conducted and prepared by professionals, Dr. Harold Ford, Mr. William Schehl, and Mt. Tom Steele. When volunteering for any organization it is highly recommended to follow the advice and direction of the professionals that are fluent in the nature of that business. With that being said, they, the professionals, recommended to close the Westmer Junior Senior High building.

The feasibility study and enrollment numbers in relation to building capacity support utilizing only four buildings. Closing the Westmer Junior Senior High building was recommended based upon financial and capacity considerations.

We, as taxpayers and parents, are asking that you, as the new board of education recognize the recommendations from the reorganization study and move forward to close the Westmer Junior Senior High in Joy. We ask that you recognize that keeping the Joy building open poses a negative economic impact to our new district when it is not required based on current and future projected enrollment numbers. Apollo, New Boston Elementary, Aledo Junior High and Aledo High School can accommodate the current and future enrollment based on building capacities noted in the feasibility study.

We considered a merger because of future financial struggles for both districts. The majority vote was yes for consolidation. The district 404 Board of Education has the right and final decision authority to close the Westmer Junior Senior High building, thus giving the parents and taxpayers what they wanted, financial strength for the betterment of education for every child of our newly consolidated district 404!

May God Bless You,

Delbert and Corena Ferguson