A-R Board of Education should be commended
Armstrong-Ringsted Superintendent Randy Collins and the A-R Board of Education Tuesday night did the right thing.
They brought a problem directly before the people that will receive the most impact – the district patrons in Ringsted.
Outlining a history of declining enrollment and increasing costs, Collins offered a proposal to close Ringsted Elementary over the next two years. His plan would call for either moving third and fourth grade to Armstrong next year with prekindergarten through second grades the following year or moving fourth grade to Armstrong next year and make a final decision based on future developments.
It appeared that the people of Ringsted appreciated Collins and the board being upfront and honest with them. All the cards are on the table and no firm decision has yet been made.
It’s really hard to lose a school. “The school is the heartbeat of the community. I’m not taking that lightly,” Collins told everyone present.
If it were any other community, closing the school could be the town’s deathblow.
Then Ringsted isn’t just any other community.
Tradition holds fast in Ringsted. A great example of that is Ringsted Days, when the entire community – plus visitors from as far away as Denmark – celebrate the beginning of summer, a Danish tradition that goes back before the Viking era. Great pride shows in the Ringsted American Legion and Community Center where veterans past and present are honored. And Ringsted can even boast of a couple new businesses in recent years – an art shop and Madden Pioneer seed.
Sure, Ringsted has taken a punch or two just like nearly every other smaller town in Iowa. But you can bet this town is in it for the entire fight.
If Ringsted Elementary is closed, which appears what will happen, the A-R Board of Education is dedicated to ensuring that the school is put to good use, a use that will be a credit to Ringsted, Iowa.
As long as the A-R Board of Education continues to keep an open-door policy with district patrons, which it most certainly will, a solution will be found that will help cut district expenses and keep Ringsted a viable community.
And that would be the best solution for everyone.