Schools won’t be going to single-track |

Schools won’t be going to single-track

by Merrie Leininger

The Douglas County school board looked at the possibility of getting Gardnerville, C.C. Meneley and Scarselli elementary schools off multi-track and onto single-track year-round, but decided it would be almost impossible with space limitations.

Rick Kester, director of business services, said the classroom analysis showed Scarselli is five classrooms short of being able to become a single-track school; Meneley is two or three classrooms short, including the portable; and Gardnerville needs one.

However, according to Kester, the school is growing at such a rapid rate, if one more classroom was added, future growth would cause them to go back to multi-track within a few years.

Kindergarten students, now numbering 68 at GES, would need another classroom once they number 90.

Any attendance boundary change out of Minden Elementary School because of overcrowding could not be accommodated at Gardnerville.

“It’s real tight at Minden,” Superintendent Pendery Clark said.

The affordable housing development on Elges is also a factor, Kester said.

“And from everything I’m hearing, it does seem like that project is going to move rapidly,” Kester said.

The upcoming $3 million GES renovation will bring the school up-to-date, but will not add any more classrooms because the district has a limit on the number of students to each school for optimal learning.

If need be, the district would re-zone to move students to Jacks Valley and Pinon Hills elementary schools, Clark said.

However, the district will continue to look at the three elementary schools to determine whether they would go back to single track.

n Not possible. While the board members agreed they would like to be able to make teachers happy and make schools single-track, it is not possible at this time.

Board member Diane McCoy made a motion to retain the multi-track at all three elementary schools for the 1999-2000 school year and directed the district to continue to look at the issue every year. It was seconded by David Brady and passed unanimously.

Douglas County Professional Education Association President Marty Cronin said Wednesday surveys by the association have showed teachers in the district are very adverse to multi-track because of the disruption to their lives and their jobs.

“The teachers believe multi-track is detrimental to education. It is an unfortunate economic necessity because the community doesn’t support bond issues and the district’s attempts to expand,” Cronin said.

However, he said some teachers feel single-track year-round is also disruptive, but not to the same extent.

“Research and profession development that teachers usually seek during the summer months is inhibited. Summer is the traditional time to gear up on new procedures in the classroom,” he said. “But year round, breaks don’t come when those traditional breaks come. So there are problems with recertification and professional growth.”

Cronin said another problem is maintenance that typically would be done when students are not in the building has to be completed when students are trying to learn.

“Last summer they tried to do capital improvement when children are in school and it was dangerous and distracting to kids. Can you imagine being in a building with no air conditioning, with the windows closed and while they are repaving the parking lot?” Cronin said.

The board and the community both need to be more aware of the situation teachers are forced into, he said.

“It is tough on teachers and the community needs to be aware of the situation,” Cronin said. “I don’t think the board is taking into consideration the concerns of parents and teachers.”

Plus, he said, teachers who work at multi-track schools have been denied the opportunity to move within the district into single-track or traditional schools.

In other agenda items:

n Technology report. Dave Pyle, technology coordinator, presented a report on technology updates and the funds used for the updates.

He said by the start of the next school year, there will be a computer in every classroom that will allow the whole district to be hooked up to one network. Five schools, including 280 computers, are still left.

One on-site computer technology troubleshooter is being trained this year with the help of the funds that come from grants and money from the state Legislature.

He said the technology committee is setting up guidelines for a district Web site that has links to Web sites for every school.

n Goodbye. The board said goodbye to Clerk Diane McCoy who served at her last meeting Tuesday night. She read her letter of resignation and the board presented her with a plaque.

n Course work. Cris Etchegoyhen, coordinator of curriculum, competencies and projects, presented the “Development of New Courses,” policy booklet.

It has the regulations for textbook and material selections and how to design new courses.

n Weapons policy. Roy Casey, assistant superintendent of education services introduced a wording change to the knives and other weapons section of the safe schools policy.

The new wording makes it more clear that on the first offense, the on-site administrator will suspend any student who brings a knife to school for 10 days. In addition, an administrator, at his or her discretion, can file a request for an extended suspension and/or expulsion with the board of trustees.

Any additional violations will result in the 10-day suspension by the school administrator and an immediate notice to the board for additional discipline.

n Audit. The board accepted the financial audit report for all district funds done by independent firm of Richard J. Peters Jr. and Co.

The auditors found no problems during their audit.

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