The Churchill County School Board of Trustees held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss the recommendation the Budget Committee made because of a $2.3 million deficit.
Phyllys Dowd, director of Business Services, informed the board again of what option two included. Option two: Grade-level schools — the three first-through fifth-grade schools would be changed to kindergarten and first grade, second and third grades and fourth and fifth grades. Northside Early Learning Center would become Pre-K only, and the option would reduce one school administration level, all specials (art, music, etc.) would be cut and only third, fourth and fifth grades would have technology classes that would save $1,101,425.
Board President Ron Evans said this decision is not one the board members look forward to making.
“After you cut all that you can cut, you get to the point where you can’t seem to go any further without effecting some serious programs,” Evans said. “And that’s what we’re facing tonight.”
Several concerned parents and teachers voiced their opinions about going to grade-level schools and the impact it will have on the children.
Jim Moore said he believes option four provides a better success rate for students.
“I’ve found research that states students who transition into multiple schools have a negative impact on their achievement,” Moore said.
Keith Boone, E.C. Best Elementary principal and member of the budget committee, said he had a hard time with the decision; however, after considering it, he determined it is the option that will be the least disrupting.
He said he’s heard parents and teachers say going to grade-level schools won’t be a hard adjustment.
“As a parent, I’m not a fan of grade-level schools,” Trustee Clay Hendrix said. “However, my kids switched grades just about every year for a few years and they didn’t suffer socially or academically. We’ll tear apart every option but in the end, we need to do what’s best for the students and district.”
Trustee Rich Gent said the board is examining the option that will prevent parents from pulling students from the district.
“That’s what I’m looking at,” he said.
Becky Dodd, president of Churchill County Education Association, said the Budget Committee did discuss the options and voted on what they thought was best.
“To touch on what Clay said, his children did well switching schools so often because of his positive attitude,” Dodd said. “If parents will have a positive attitude about the situation, so will their children and because of those positive attitudes those children will succeed.”
After further discussion, the trustees voted to adopt option two for the purpose of directing staff and administration to prepare to follow the recommendation as found in board book and any negative consequences be reported to the board.
There will be a 30-day comment period before the board can vote on the option at its March 26 meeting. The school district will mail out information to parents on the current situation, its plans to correct it and how concerns can be heard.