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May 28, 2020

4/17/2020 11:52:00 AM
The need to be heard
J. Patrick Reilly

Often not thought of unless it becomes a necessity. And to those wanting to keep a school in Ridgeway it is a commodity they feel was denied at Monday night's Dodgeville School Board meeting.
At that meeting the board voted 4-3 to close RES at the end of the school year. A 4-3 vote is a majority, but not an overwhelming decision by any means.
Time comes in with the urgency that came about when the board announced it was considering closure in mid-March at a meeting in Ridgeway. Residents of the community that consolidated its school with Dodgeville in the 1960s asked for time to form a collaborative group that would work with the board on possible alternatives and a better timeline if closure was the best solution.
Then came COVID-19 which has effectively shut down meetings and gatherings as we know them.
With a potential vote on last Monday's agenda the Ridgeway community responded with a long list of emails with their responses and requests, along with a petition with over 1000 signatures seeking support...all that in a matter of a couple weeks.
But the board voted and even though it was a one vote margin, it still stands. All that apparently is left, is a vacant building and a large group of Dodgeville district stakeholders who live in Ridgeway feeling both wronged and slighted.
It would have been a better idea than taking the vote to wait, even though the saying "time is money" could be an issue.
But it would be a very small issue than the one the board created by rushing to the vote.
People deserve to be heard. In this case they may have been and it was definately not an easy decision the board made. But was making it Monday with the issues we have been facing the past few weeks the right time?

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2020
Article comment by: Catherine Palzkill

Thank you for your editorial The Need to Be Heard. I agree with you and others who are asking The Dodgeville SB to listen to their concerns and work with them to make a plan that everyone can live with regarding the Ridgeway school. Our country is divided enough at this time for so many reasons, I would hope that the citizens who represent me on the SB and those who are concerned about this important issue would work to lessen that divisiveness even if it takes time. It starts with letting people be heard and their concerns validated. The result may be the same but if they are given the opportunity to be reasonably heard the sting of that decision will be far less than it is now.

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