School Board Member Hardy Black was quoted in the January 24th edition of the Daily Press as stating: "It's a dream situation: No overcrowding, students get more attention," "But what about all the other sixth graders? We need to look at all the students and not just one group."

It has been stated how unfair the 6th grade schools are to those who do not attend. I have heard this mentioned as a reason why the schools need to be shut down. Since it has been acknowledged by this board that the 6th grade schools are beneficial for those who attend, forward thinking would lead one to believe the district should strive to get all 6th graders in a 6th grade only school. Additionally, studies show that 6th grade only schools are beneficial in preparing students for Junior High and High School.

Unfortunately, I believe that the Hesperia Unified School District Board is taking a step backwards and not serving the students in this district.

On August 27th, one of my children came home with a survey from the "Choice Schools" committee asking for my input. As I read the cover letter I was surprised to see the following statement: "A Choice School, because of its unique set-up may have limited enrollment due to school size, and/or may only serve a limited attendance area the first few years of operation to help alleviate over crowded schools."

I had come to the belief that this school board wanted to eliminate students being deprived of what another student has. Again, one of the reasons for closing the 6th grade schools was that not all 6th graders could attend. This may not have been the only reason, but it was one of the stated reasons.

Another statement in the letter is: "It is also possible that due to demand, these schools may have waiting lists once they reach capacity." This statement leads me to believe that the committee knows and expects that students who desire attendance will be turned away. To quote Mr. Black, "We need to look at all students and not just one group". By creating "Choice Schools", we are creating special groups.

Does this board believe that there will not be more than nine-hundred students, from more than eleven-thousand students in K-6th grade, wanting into a particular "Choice School"?

It is a complete contradiction to claim that we need to close 6th grade only schools because we need to look at all students, yet form a "Choice School", which will selectively admit students, create waiting lists and thus deny students access.

I have heard from union members, teachers, and district staff that the 6th grade schools were a band aid for over crowding and just a concept. The concept has been proven to work. Do we as a district abandon the concept or do we embrace it and institute it district wide? Studies show and I have seen it in my own children that the 6th grade only school concept is affective, beneficial, and productive. They, the board, have the proof right in front of them.

This board could have moved forward, served the children of this district, and evaluated construction with the goal of every 6th grader in a 6th grade only school. Instead, I believe the board took a step backwards and are not serving the children by providing them the best possible education that has been proven to work here in this district.

I would like to see all 6th graders in a 6th grade only school. I would like to see all the 6th graders given the best opportunity to be prepared for Jr. High and High School. I suspect that I've been fed lies and contradictions in order to move to another system that may exclude more kids than the 6th grade schools currently do and provide more challenges for this district than 6th grade schools do.

If we truly are in favor of shutting down programs when not every child in the district has the same opportunity, then I have some recommendations. Sultana's drama program? Shut it down on the basis that Hesperia High and Mojave High do not have state of the art performing arts centers. Sultana football? How many years did Hesperia play at Sultana's field? Ranchero Middle's basketball and volleyball programs. Shut them down. Hesperia Junior High's programs play in a cafeteria that does not a have regulation court and on a floor that was not designed for physical activity. I'll bet if you ask the softball and baseball coaches at Hesperia High they would love to have lights on their fields. Maybe this board should shutdown the programs that do have lights. How many students at Cedar would love to have their gym finished? And what is Hesperia Jr. to think when Ranchero and Cedar have gyms?

As for the "Choice Schools" Survey? I checked other and wrote in "6th Grade Only Schools..."