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BRIDGE loss a tragedy and injustice

August 23, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

I was delighted and pleased to read in the Aug. 15 Daily Mining Gazette that the Adams Township Schools Board of Education had voted unanimously in favor of supporting a millage request be placed on the November ballot supporting BRIDGE Alternative High School. Here is one school district in the Copper Country Intermediate School District that is enlightened in its views. I applaud them.

Unfortunately, many of the other schools districts seem to be enmeshed in their budget woes to the point where the board members can no longer see the forest for the trees. One such school board member was quoted as saying, "I have a moral obligation to balance my budget," in an earlier article in the Gazette. Where was his moral compass when his same school board did not send the "at risk" money to BRIDGE High School, which was educating many of his former students?

The superintendent of this same school district also claims that BRIDGE High School has only a 30-percent graduation rate. She may be correct where her students are concerned, but only because this school won't release the students to attend BRIDGE until their junior or senior year. They arrive at BRIDGE grievously deficient in credits toward graduation. Although the staff at BRIDGE is dedicated and diligent, even they cannot pull 3 or even 4 years of credits out of their hats for these students.

To set the record straight, the overall graduation rate for BRIDGE High School is 70 percent. I doubt the credibility of this superintendent when she claims she can provide these students with a curriculum that will meet the alternative students' requirements. If that is the case, why were there so many students looking to BRIDGE to meet their needs?

I fear that BRIDGE Alternative High School may no longer exist. What a tragedy and an injustice to the many students who have passed through the doors of BRIDGE.

I hope all of the school board members who have voted against the continuation of this valuable asset to our education system and community can live with the known statistics of the social and economic cost of students not graduating from high school. For that will be the reality of this decision, and all of us in this community will pay.





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