Items of note:
IX. New Business
C. Discussion of Open Enrollment Report (30 Min)
We again received a large number of open enrollment requests, a total of 212 in and 41 out. The majority of applications (77) are for the high school, another 47 are for Glacial Drumlin. The next largest group is T4K which has 21 applications. Each OE student brings with them 2/3 of the usual funding, so under the right circumstances they can improve the budget picture. We can't turn down OE applications unless we don't have space
X. Unfinished Business
B. Discussion and Possible Approval of Location of 6th Grade Programming (30 Min)
Information about the possible move is found by clicking here.
The administration has made an educational and management case for combining the the 6th grade student into Glacial Drumlin. Against that I balance the "contract" of the last referendum that placed the 6th graders in their home communities. The communication I have had on this one has been mixed.
C. Discussion of Budget Reduction Proposals (30 Min)
D. Discussion of Possible Consolidation of Maywood & Winnequah Schools (30 Min)
E. Discussion and Possible Approval of Revisions to Board Rule 343.2
Guidelines for Class Size (20 Min)
Class sizes are big drivers of cost in the district, they impact our open enrollment options and teacher overload pay, but clearly the individual attention a student gets decreases as class size.
F. Discussion of District Split Study 2005 (10 Min)This issue has been raised by members of the community and board members. I dug up the editorial I wrote that was featured in the Cap Times after attending the 2005 split study report:
Recently the results of a study examining the impact that splitting the Monona Grove School District would have on programming was presented to the MGHS School Board and the citizens of Monona and Cottage Grove. The study identified four small school districts, similar in size and funding to the Monona only district that would result from a MGSD split, and compared those programs to the current Monona Grove High School. According to the study, when compared to MGHS, these small schools:
1. Offer half the number of core courses (average 37 vs. 70).
2. Offer half the number of elective courses (average 38 vs. 74)
3. Struggle to offer AP courses because of a lack of willing or qualified teachers.
4. Rely on “creative solutions”, such as distance learning and online courses, as a substitute for classroom instruction.
5. Offer fewer athletic options outside the “major” sports
6. Have only one or two teachers per subject area.
7. Have difficulty retaining qualified administrators as they use small districts as stepping-stones to larger districts.
8. Share staff between middle and high schools.
9. Often have all K-12 students in a single facility.
10. Have special education students attend regular courses because there are not resources to offer separate classes.
11. Have fewer co-curricular offerings (example: none of the comparable schools offered an Orchestra)
12. And in at least one case were unable to offer the foreign language of choice because of the inability to find a qualified teacher.
Despite the stated theme of the presentation (”Not Good, Not Bad. - Just Different”) the issues identified in the study are, indeed, objectively bad. The issues raised by the study are certainly not consistent with the kind of educational opportunities this community expects for its children, nor are they consistent with the quality schools that drew us to Monona. For these reasons we oppose splitting our great Monona Grove School District!