What I REALLY don't want to be when I grow up is a school board member struggling with the necessity of closing a school.
A couple of Salt Lake districts have come upon hard times in their quest to comply with state directives to either use their buildings to 70 percent capacity, close them or face financial penalties.The prospects of losing part of a district's state money at a time when budgets are withering is untenable, so they're left with the alternative - closing buildings that aren't being used efficiently.
Everyone who reads a newspaper or listens to the electronic media is aware of the longstanding painful process that has ripped Salt Lake District apart. A community schism has developed that could be felt for years if it is not resolved.
The closure of South High School - which was under discussion because of declining enrollment even before the state passed its edict - and division of its students among other district high schools either created or heightened discontent. Animosities have rippled out in widening rings to many areas of the district's superintendent, management and operations.
Unless the district settles its differences and refocuses its energies on the business of creating the strongest possible education program for its students, those students could be the losers.
Granite District has had dissension on a smaller scale as it prepares to close a school on its east side. The school in all likelihood will be East Mill Creek, and parents in that neighborhood have grudgingly accepted the fact.
The question that would challenge the wisdom and courage of Solomon is how to accommodate the school's children in other area schools. The district is faced with a number of alternatives, each one of which is unpalatable to one group of parents or another.
Either Canyon Rim or Upland Terrace - both within easy distance of the East Mill Creek neighborhood - can absorb the displaced students. But the East Mill Creek parents have dug in their heels to oppose the Canyon Rim option because it would require their children to cross 33rd South - a six-lane highway they refer to as "the Berlin Wall."
Several children have been killed on the street already. Students south of 33rd attending Canyon Rim would face increased temptations to cross as they developed friendships across the line and became involved in before and after school activities.
So, you say, the solution is simple. Send them to Upland Terrace. Good idea, perhaps, but that option would mean about 150 kids who now are bused to that eastside school from the area of 39th South and Seventh West (there they have no neighborhood school of their own) would have to be relocated to make room for the East Mill Creek students.
The proposal is to bus the westside students to Canyon Rim instead. Parents of the bused students object that they have been at Upland Terrace for 18 years and should have some consideration as an integral part of that school's student body.
Put them on the scales of justice - the safety interests of the East Mill Creek students and the historic problems of the Valley Center neighborhood - and what you get is a wash.
The simple fact is that the Granite District must choose among the alternatives during its July 5 meeting. Whichever way board members tilt, someone is going to be hurt and angry.
The trick, however, is for the various interests to determine before the fact that the district's decision will not cause the affected neighborhoods to disintegrate into the kind of factionism that continues to cause turmoil in the Salt Lake District.
If disappointed parents can graciously swallow their hurts, put a good front on an un-ideal situation and let children know that they support the district in its decision, the kids will quickly adapt to their new circumstances and school will go on as usual.
Let's not have another long-term, disruptive and counterproductive donnybrook over a school closure.
Meanwhile, I'll go home and thank whatever powers that be that I don't serve on either the Salt Lake or Granite board.