As you may have heard, the Creston Community School District Board of Education recently approved a package of staff reductions to be implemented in the 2017-18 school year. As is always the case, each reduction is accompanied by more information and reasons for the cut. This article has been written to provide further explanations associated with the recent reductions.
First off, yes, an administrative position is being reduced. The board approved the reduction of an important administrative position, Director of Education Services – Curriculum and Special Education. The duties and responsibilities of this position will be assigned to remaining members of the administrative team including the principals and superintendent. We have heard comments stating that the district would never cut an administrative position and that is simply not true.
Next is the reduction of a section of second grade for next fall. It is a small class compared to others. The reduction of a section will result in class sizes of 21 and 22 students, sizes that are very manageable in terms of counts. Of course, the actual counts do not tell the whole story. Classroom control and overall learning environments can pivot on the behaviors of the students in each class. At this point, we believe we can still maintain positive learning environments in four sections of second grade next year. As always, we will keep an eye on the student counts as they come in next fall and we will pay close attention to the combinations behavioral needs of our students as well.
Also, related to the second grade reduction has been confusion about what will happen in future years. If that class’ student enrollment remains the same and behaviors are managed, that group may continue with four sections up through the grades. This will be evaluated each year. I anticipate some growth in that class which may eventually result in five sections again. The number of sections in all elementary classes including second grade will be determined each year. In other words, we will not maintain only four sections of second grade if the next class coming through is much larger. Again, these decisions are made one year at a time.
A few positions currently shared between our district and neighboring districts are also being reduced. Two of our four shared positions with Murray will be reduced and both positions currently shared with Lenox are being reduced. The partner relationships with both districts are very positive, so that is not the issue. Our scheduling for next year yielded the much-needed downsizing in the subjects these teachers are currently teaching for us. The two shared Lenox positions are in physical education at the high school and these classes will be taught by other properly-endorsed teachers on staff. Administrators at Lenox and we are trying our best to find full-time employment for both displaced instructors.
On the Murray side, we will continue to share a middle school social studies teacher and a middle school language arts teacher. We will no longer share the middle school technology position or a Title I reading position with Murray. An experienced, properly endorsed teacher already on staff will take on the Title I reading instructional responsibilities and several teachers at the elementary-middle school will assume the technology teaching duties. Of course, we have other teachers in Title I and technology. These two positions are half-time this year and those duties will be handled by the others mentioned.
As we continue our efforts to serve students, align our budget and plan for the future, we will make every effort to provide the absolute best learning services possible for our local girls and boys within our means.