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Ideas for Wentzville Schools

To the Editor: It’s no secret that the Wentzville School District is growing. Take a drive around the area and chances are you will pass a new subdivision or a house under construction. All this growth is good for our local economy, but it puts a strain on our local school district. New houses bring new students, which means overcrowding in our local schools. Our district leaders have proposed several ideas for how we might deal with this problem. These ideas force taxpayers to decide between busing, redrawing school boundaries, increased class sizes, or raising property taxes. There is, however, an idea that the district has not considered. It is an idea that would alleviate overcrowding and save the district money. Moreover, it’s the only idea that accomplishes those goals while giving parents greater control over their child’s education – private school scholarships. This idea is not unprecedented. When former United States Secretary of Education Rod Paige was superintendent in Houston, he faced a similar problem with overcrowding. His solution was to provide students in the overcrowded school with support to attend a private school. More recently, the Douglas County, Colorado, school board created offered 500 private school scholarships to students. If the Wentzville School District offered 500 students a $4,000 scholarship to attend a private school, it would reduce overcrowding and save the district nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. More importantly, it would expand educational options for Wentzville families. This is an option that should be on the table. James Shuls

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