Research and our experience link smaller schools with higher academic achievement (especially for low-income children), more engagement in school activities by students and families, and less truancy, discipline problems and need for special education services.The 3/2/05 Cap Times includes an excellent op ed piece by Ruth Robarts detailing her concerns about creating a large K-5 elementary school. ntid=30501 Ruth Robarts: Better to rethink new school now than regret decision later By Ruth Robarts March 2, 2005 On March 28, the Madison School Board will cast the final vote on the proposed referendum for .5 million to build a second school on the Leopold Elementary School site.The proposed "paired" school would open in September 2007 and house up to 550 kindergarten through second-grade students and another 550 third- through fifth-grade students.
It is my responsibility to ask whether we have the experience to make such a joint school work and what additional resources would be required to assure student success under such conditions.
In the short term, the proposal meets some, but not all, of the needs of Leopold's current students. Because it would open at 75 percent of capacity, the students at the school in 2007 would have small classes in an oversized facility.