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 CAB Board Votes to Change Boundary

August 20, 2008 - The Charles A. Beard School Board voted unanimously last week to approve a boundary change between attendance districts for Knightstown and Kennard elementaries.

The redistricting was prompted by concerns over the size of the single second grade class at Kennard Elementary, which would have had 33 students this fall. With the boundary change, this number will drop to 26, with Knightstown Elementary's three second grade classes dividing the seven former Kennard students affected by the change.

CAB Superintendent Gary Storie told board members and the public who attended a special meeting on Aug. 12 that he felt 33 students was too large of a class size for second graders and not conducive to their education. While he said he would have preferred to solve the problem by hiring another second grade teacher for Kennard, he said that solution was not financially possible at this time.

The new boundary shifts about a half mile to the north of its former location, to County Road 450-South. The boundary will continue east to Greensboro Pike, then north into Greensboro, with Main Street being the boundary there.

Several members of the public addressed the board on the redistricting topic prior to the vote at last week's meeting. Amy Schaetzle, who has two sons, a second grader and a fourth grader, said she was opposed to the plan, noting that while the second grade class size at Kennard would be reduced, her fourth grader will be moving to a larger class size at Knightstown.

Cindy Thompson said her daughter was very upset about transferring to Knightstown. She also said she did not appreciate this issue being dealt with the week before school started and said it could present child care issues for her and other parents.

Sandra Willis expressed concern about the loss of Title I services that are available at Kennard but not at Knightstown, such as the speech therapy her granddaughter received. She also noted that the student supply lists between the schools were not the same, which could present a hardship for some people who had already bought supplies thinking their children would be going to Kennard.

"We have plenty of additional supplies in our building," Knightstown Elementary Principal Christine Brokamp Brokamp told Willis and the board later in the meeting. "People have been very generous. We've have donations coming in all the time."

Like Thompson, Tina Fowler also said she was disappointed with the short amount of notice given. She also said she was concerned that the boundary change would mean fewer girls in a Kennard second grade class that only had nine girls in a class of 33 students to start.

"As a staff, we're devastated to lose any of our children," Shirley Heck, the principal at Kennard at Carthage elementaries, told the board. However, she said they appreciate the concern the board is giving to to the second graders at Kennard.

School Board Vice President Steve Dalton said he first raised concerns about the size of this particular class at Kennard two years ago, as a citizen and parent. However, he said no one did anything to address the problem, something he said was a "disservice to these students these past two years."

"The trade-off was the size of the class and the services," Storie said with respect to concerns about the loss of Title I services that won’t be available at Knightstown. “So, I feel like they’ll be adequately served. Knightstown is not a Title I school, so if they were receiving some special services at Kennard, they won’t be available at … Knightstown. The thought behind that was that they were still going to be better off in a smaller class.”

After the board’s vote approving the redistricting change, Schaetzle told board members she was disappointed with their action. “Where you fixed a problem with the second grade at Kennard, you’ve created the same problem at the fourth grade at Knightstown,” she said, “and that’s very distressing to me.”

School Board President Steve Dalton said believes it is more critical to have a smaller second grade class at Kennard. He said he agreed with Storie that the older, fourth grade students at were better equipped to handle a larger class size at Knightstown.

“At the end of the day, I’m more comfortable with 27 kids in a fourth grade class,” Dalton said, “knowing that I’m taking a second grade class from 33 down to 26.” In other business at last week’s meeting, the board accepted resignations from KHS French teacher Lisa Mercer and fifth grade KIS teacher Caylie Dicken. The board also approved amending Heck’s contract to reflect an earlier-approved reduction in its term from 215 to 210 days, with appropriate adjustments to her salary, and received a presentation from Storie on the 2009 budget.

 

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