Editorial: Facility review could help level the playing field

The Hanover School Board agreed on Tuesday to launch a study into its current school facilities and capacities schoolwide.

This is a wise move.

School officials are currently modeling facility decisions on a study now 5 years old. A new review is probably overdue and should likely be a continuing part of the school system’s planning process for the future.

Bricks and mortar do play an important, often overlooked role in education. Maintaining and updating aging schools is one way to reflect visually a school district’s dedication to providing quality education. Students should feel like they’re walking into opportunity each day, not a cinder-block-walled institution.

Regarding school capacity, it is important that the school board look to level the playing field across its division.

Increased enrollment without school expansion or redistricting inevitably results in larger class sizes. This can take place gradually over years or in the wink of an eye as the building climate returns to its former glory and families begin raising a new generation of school-age children in Hanover.

The last such redistricting occurred 10 years ago alongside the opening of Hanover High School, now only at 76 percent capacity, well below the county’s other three high schools.

While redistricting is never popular, it is sometimes necessary to ensure students are receiving the same educational attention throughout all of Hanover’s schools.

Smaller classroom sizes mean more attention to individual students. Those who may get lost in the mix in a larger classroom have less opportunity to do so in a smaller setting.

As such, student-teacher ratios should definitely come into play as officials begin to review their facilities.

We applaud the Board and school administration for beginning the process and look forward to future findings.

Posted on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 11:23 am