There is an urgent need for your participation in District planning right now…Sept 19 (2 weeks) is the day for your feedback- see below please
The School Board commissioned a study with NESDEC for planning options to deal with declining enrollment and facilities usage.
A few years ago, the then SB adopted a 5 year capital plan to spend $9.5 Million on school buildings, half of it on the Middle School (- which is a 1970’s building with many shortcomings for education today, both for space,with elementary-sized classrooms and dark and narrow hallways and offices, and for educational shortcomings such as labs, half-sized gym, lack of athletic fields, and more.)
Together taxpayers resoundingly rejected this plan as ill-thought-out and a waste of limited taxpayer resources.
There are several options that have been laid out…the School Board wants your input on what plans to implement.
Please go here and look over the options. Then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (SB Chair), copying email@example.com(Superintendent) on what option you prefer and why. Copy me too, and I will make doubly sure your thoughts are shared with the SB.
My personal favorite is to have the Pre-K to grade 4 go to Bakie for both towns, grades 5-6 go to Memorial, and grades 7-8 go to the High School, with careful attention to separation of 7-8 from the High School students, educationally and physically.
There would be savings in following areas:
1- teaching staff, with right-sizing of elementary classrooms (- a savings of $500-$650,000)
2- administrative staff, with reduction of principal and support for about $200,000
3- Maintenance of physical plant savings with elimination of the middle school – possible sale to give the District $$$ to make the needed plant investments.
In all, the savings could be 1 Million to 1.5 Million dollars annually out of our $35 Million total budget.
There would be instructional efficiency, with more literacy support in lower grades, and math support in grades 3 and up, with shared resources.
There would be labs and advanced learning options available for Middle School students that they do not now have.
There will be challenges: separation of 7-8 graders from High Schoolers… there is space at the HS for this to be done.
Teachers who work with age groups need to be appropriately trained to deal with that group, different for tweens than for teens.
These changes can happen in the next year…IF the community gets behind them.
There are special interests who are afraid of any change…they will be speaking up. Some last night at the SB meeting warned that they will fight moving MS kids to the HS no matter what. They want us to continue to pay, and perhaps invest in the middle school building even though we have better facilities usage options.
Speak up! An email will work. Attending the SB meeting on Sept 19 at the High School is even stronger. The meeting will begin with SB business at 6, then will be a workshop for community statements beginning at 7 PM.
Annie Collyer, Secretary