The warmth and familiarity Wasatch Elementary brings to my son’s first year in attendance is unmatched. With a diligent principal and administration, passionate PTA, and dedicated teachers, Wasatch was named one of only two Blue Ribbon Schools in Utah this year. I want to offer my experience regarding reasons the school found itself on the list for closure which include, the proximity to a busy street, dwindling enrollment, as well as the age of the building.
Prior to 2020 my husband and I had careers that were reliant on the restaurant industry, which had the rug pulled out from under it. A few years later we found ourselves moving from a home to an apartment and sharing a car, which means we rely on public transportation from time to time. While there is not a huge parking lot at Wasatch Elementary, you will see children arriving via bike, scooter, walking, riding the school bus and city bus. While Wasatch may be on South Temple, my family appreciates how many convenient ways we can use to get there.
In a board meeting the district mentioned they did not expect many children in the new buildings going up all around the city and to that I think of my situation and wonder how many other families might find themselves moving from homes to new apartments. I also wonder why it is the more urban locations that are being targeted for closure.
While the district cannot deny the dwindling number of children in schools, I believe public schools focus too much on what they should get rid of and not what they should invest in. Why not invest in a school like Wasatch, why not update the older building, why not protect a school with so much character, diversity, and accomplishments?
Monica Daniels, Salt Lake City