Board keeps sixth graders at elementary, for now
by Mary Le Arneal
The discussion on the increasing class sizes at North Bend Elementary School, where classes ranging from 33 (first and second grades) to 50 (kindergarten), continued at the North Bend Public School Board of Education meeting March 12.
One of the more controversial options that had been discussed was to move the sixth grade into the high school building.
Since the last meeting a committee made of parents, teachers, school board members and interested community members met for five hours to discuss the possibilities with tours of the elementary and high school included in their meeting. Committee members Doug Vrana and Jenni Peters presented the committee’s thoughts to the board.
“We will never regret investing in space or technology,” Peters said.
Their final conclusion was to modify the elementary school computer lab into a classroom (its usage is down since the addition of laptop computers on a tray) and add on to the elementary school this summer while developing a long-term facilities pan that incorporates a 6th - 8th grade wing, gymnasium and science room renovations.
“We want to be proactive,” Peters said. “Not just do the addition. We want to move toward getting a middle school (at the high school site.)”
After some discussion, the board accepted the resolution with funds already in the system to be used to build the addition.
“That’s what is exciting about this,” superintendent Dan Endorf said. “We’re growing.”
Enrollment at NBCPS is up almost 9 percent from last year. There are a positive 61 option enrollment students, up from 25 last year. Endorf said more will soon be known about next year’s numbers after a vote by Scribner-Snyder to build a new school and the settlement of a lawsuit in Dodge over its merger with Howells.
The discussion of a middle school at NBC continued with board member Jeff Bauer saying it would make the school that much more attractive to prospective families.
“Every step we take short term has to work toward the long term goal,” Jenni Peters said.
Board member Jeff Peters paid a compliment to the elementary teachers in the audience.
“People are not coming to our school because of the nice looking building,” he said. “They look at what is happening inside.”
Bauer made a motion to add on to the elementary school and leave the sixth graders there.
There was a long pause before the motion was a seconded. Peters seconded the motion with the amendment that the long term plan would continue to pursue middle school concept. The amended motion passed unanimously.
Bob Soukup from Carson West Provondra Architects presented ideas for the elementary school addition.
Two sites were suggested, north and south of the present corridor to the fifth and sixth grade addition. After discussing the merits at length, the board voted to put the addition on the north side, requesting Soukup draw up further plans for the space.
Soukup said that there are other options to adding on, but these two sites were the most economical. When asked when the additional room could be completed, he said the best case scenario would be October.
Soukup also presented plans for the updating of the rest rooms at the high school.
• adopted Expressions as the new math text for the elementary school.
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