Letter: Oak Creek School is an anchor in Cornville

Editor:

Do not close Oak Creek School. It will harm the community. Consider the following:

Most of us that live in Cornville are choosing a lifestyle that is not based on convenience. We want to raise our families or retire in a smaller community with small-town values. There is no grocery store or shopping center and there are few restaurants in Cornville - it is not convenient.

The school is the pride of Cornville. Cornville is frequently the butt of many jokes, but we have a great school we can feel good about. If there is no school, Cornville will slowly whither and die.

Property values in Cornville will be harmed by the school closing. Every person in Cornville should be concerned about this. Families make decisions on where to live based on where their kids will go to school. If there is no school in Cornville, they will choose communities that have a school.

Oak Creek School has been around for 107 years. There is a strong sense of community surrounding the school that Cottonwood residents may not understand. If every school in Cottonwood were closing, then I think the residents would understand how Cornville residents feel.

Cornville residents do not have a loyalty to COCSD. They have a loyalty to their school. If Oak Creek School is closed, you cannot assume all of our kids will be transferred to Cottonwood schools. Since we want a small community environment for our children, we will seek it out wherever we have to. The school district stands to lose more funding than it sees in cost reductions.

How did the COCSD get into this budget mess? Other smaller school districts in the Verde Valley are not facing the problems we are in this school district. Our teachers are among some of the lowest paid in Arizona but our administrators are some of the highest paid. Shouldn't there be some hard questions being asked of the School Board?

Oak Creek School is special. My children have attended other schools before we moved to Cornville so I am speaking from experience. If I think about the old school bell ringing in the morning, the kids on the grass saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing songs, the joy on the playground when everyone is celebrating Earth Day, to the care and dedication of the teachers, this school has old-time values that are often missing in this hectic world. It should be protected.

Donna Helfrich

Cornville

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