After what seemed like an impossibly long summer with my kids at home with me while I work, they have both gone back to school. My son has started middle school while my daughter has started Kindergarten, which has allowed me a full seven hours of freedom to get out of my home office, to take photos of properties and visit the corporate office. There is only so much staring at the same four walls you can do.
However there’s some annoyances that my kids going back to school brings, such as USD259 deciding to place my children in schools seven miles apart. This has caused logistical issues as school starts and ends at the same time for both kids; I haven’t managed to clone myself, so I can’t be in two places at once.
So the solution I have come up with is; drop my son off at 7:30am at Hamilton Middle School and he’ll have to wait until 7:50am to enter school while I drive seven miles back up I-135 to drop my daughter off for 7:50am at Gordon Parks Academy. On the return journey, I pick my daughter up at 3:10pm then drive the seven miles back down I-135 to pick up my son at 3:25pm, that’s 15 minutes after school ends.
I would be happy for my son to ride the school bus, but my wife had bad experiences riding the bus during her youth and doesn’t want our son to ride the school bus because she fears he’ll have similar experiences to her. Although not ideal for me, I will drive back and forth to put her mind at ease.
The reason that our son has to attend a school so far away from our home is because the Unified School District 259 in their infinite wisdom decided to make half the neighborhood schools into magnet schools. Which parents have to apply for by the end of February every year to have a chance of being accepted.
We were not familiar with this requirement and didn’t get our application for Brooks Middle School, a school that is 3 minutes drive away in early enough. In the simplest terms neighborhood kids are being locked out of their neighborhood schools because they are being converted into magnet schools.
Yesterday, to add to my annoyance of having to drive seven miles to pick up my son, making him wait 15 minutes to be picked up. A member of staff at Gordon Parks instructed me that I HAD to walk 250ft to the crosswalk, having to cross the busy exit of the school car park where buses are exiting and 250ft back to my car. This obviously provoked a less than friendly reaction. I explained “I don’t have time for that, the school district placed my son 15 minutes drive away” and walked across the road with my daughter.
The lack of organization in the Wichita school district is astonishing, parents are given very little information about what is happening with their child’s education or even simple things like welcome packets and school websites including information such as start and end times for school.
This is why we were not aware of the requirements for attending magnet schools. Despite our son attending a magnet school at elementary level, they didn’t instruct or notify us on how the system works, should we want him to attend the same school at middle school level. We are actually considering moving our home to another school district for a better education for our children, but this is Brownback’s Kansas, so the chances are that it’ll still be a disaster because of his defunding of Kansas schools.
Update [Aug, 26 2015, 19:36]: Today we got notice that our son had been accepted into Brooks middle school, two weeks after school started. I am baffled as to how in less than 2 weeks, our son has gone from #37 on the waiting list to being accepted, maybe they read my blog? Plus, as our son expressed his like for his current school, Hamilton, we were unsure whether we should move him, but thankfully our son still wants to attend Brooks, he just wants a days notice to say goodbye to his friends.