Parents, Re-2 board address K-4th vs. K-5th debate
Parents, educators and administrators may not see eye to eye when it comes to educating kids. But parents and administration of Garfield School District Re-2 do agree that the students’ needs should be priority number one.About 40 parents and community members attended the first of two discussions at Kathryn Senor Elementary School in New Castle Wednesday night. Parents went to voice concerns about how the district plans to divide the students, faculty and staff of Kathryn Senor Elementary between the two future elementary schools in town. Boundary lines determining which school a student will attend and transitional affect all these changes will have on students were of other concern as well.The main concern for Angie Apostolik, and several other parents, was to try to convince the school board that changing the grade structure and shifting fifth grades back into the elementary school setting would alleviate some of the other problems such as attendance lines that will potentially separate students into two separate schools.”That is not an option at this point,” said Re-2 superintendent Gary Pack. “If we wanted to do that we would have had to change that before the bond issue passed. “Re-2 has been a kindergarten through fourth-grade district for eight years, even before I was here.”But parents like Apostolik would like to see that change.”It was our hope that they would push back fifth grade,” she said. “Because that makes sense.”Elyse Hutchinson agreed with Apostolik saying that restructuring the grades to have one kindergarten through second-grade facility, a third through fifth-grade facility and making the middle school a sixth through eighth-grade facility would eliminate the new boundary issues and would allow the younger students to remain in one building.”I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea,” said Re-2 school board president Jay Rickstrew. “But, we don’t have the classrooms to go K through five in the district.”Concerning attendance lines, Pack said several issues like transportation routing, geography and student demographics including those who receive free and reduced lunches, race and ethnicity play a roll as set by state and federal statutes in accordance to No Child Left Behind.”There will be a lot of thought put into the process,” Rickstrew said. “We will take every possible step to make the boundaries the best possible option for the students.”Parents concerned that the school board wasn’t going to work with them on the attendance boundaries were pacified when Rickstrew offered a sign-up sheet for anyone who would like to be a part of the committee to help in the process.Voters passed a $74.9 million bond in 2006 approving construction of a new middle school in New Castle. This plan, currently under way, would allow the existing Riverside School to be converted into an additional elementary in hopes of alleviating some of the growing pains felt at KSE.Pack estimated that approximately $2 million has already been spent on designs for the new middle school and the process started as early as 2005 when the facility needs committee (FNC) – composed of community members – determined the needs of the district. It was at that time that the FNC determined the best way to deal with the growth in the district was to have two kindergarten through fourth-grade elementary schools and a fifth through eighth-grade middle school to align with the rest of the district.Roy Moore Elementary in Silt is currently a kindergarten through fifth-grade facility and was allowed to remain so, as long as it had the room. However, with the new Cactus Valley Elementary opening in December, it will convert to a kindergarten through fourth-grade school as well.Contact John Gardner: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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