Saturday, March 6, 2010
March 10 Monona Grove Board of Education Meeting
Our next Board meeting will take place at 7pm on March 10 in the Winnequah School IMC. The Board will continue to discuss our administrative budget reduction proposals as well as the possible consolidation of Maywood Elementary and Winnequah School. We will also have discussion on and the possible approval of the location of our district's sixth grade programming. Principal Renee Tennant was very kind to walk me through Glacial Drumlin School this week and gave me a thorough understanding of how consolidating our sixth grade programming would fit into her building. While her well thought out planning eased my concerns about space and crowding issues at GDS, I still have several preoccupations about the move. I have heard from administrators, staff and parents alike that there seems to be an unwritten rule that no secondhand furniture may be used in the building. As the possible consolidation of sixth grade programming is being presented as a cost-neutral non-budget reduction item, I would love to get to the bottom of the plans to furnish two extra classrooms. Based on Patti McGinnis's 4K-8 Grade Configuration Study of 2009, I would make a guess that it may cost upward of 20K. I have asked for the cost projections from administration; hopefully the Board will have a chance to examine these figures before our proposed vote on the issue. I also continue to be concerned that in light of our recent budget reduction discussions, our district will not continue to financially support the Encore programs that make sixth grade an exploratory middle school program. If our programming is to be cut drastically in the near future, is there a true benefit to moving our sixth graders together in an school that is already coming close to capacity? Even more troubling is Superintendent Gerlach's statement that in the event that his proposal to move all of our sixth grade students to GDS is not approved, it is likely that Winnequah's sixth grade students will have an elementary model for programming, while our GDS sixth graders will continue to be offered the full exploratory middle school programming. This is an educational move that I will certainly not support. I cannot understand how having one isolated group of students in a grade level be exposed to one less year of FACE, Tech Ed., Spanish, French and computer instruction could possibly be sound educational practice. Yet this seems to me to be likely in the future if all of our sixth graders aren't brought together now. I will be bringing this concern up at our Board meeting on the 10th.