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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Concerns of class size raised once again

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CLAY CITY -- Class size was once again the topic of discussion for parents at the Clay Community School Corporation meeting Thursday at Clay City Junior/Senior High School.

Rob Horton, a resident of Clay City, started the events of the night with concern for the lack of results.

"The teachers aide in the classroom is great. However, I am concerned about the parent volunteer," he said. "Bless the parent volunteer. I am so happy that the teacher is receiving help. I am just concerned because of the amount of time that the students are actually spending learning in the classroom when there is testing going and the aide can't be with the teacher in the classroom."

"If we have full-day kindergarten, and include the amount of time that students spend at lunch and recess, while factoring in the number of students in the class are the students even getting half-a-day of education?"

At the conclusion of his time at the podium, Horton asked for one thing: results.

"We want to see feedback, try to do something to give us results," he said.

Nikki Medley, a resident of Clay City, talked about the necessity of the problem at hand.

"I fear for my children not receiving a proper education and slipping through the cracks," she said. "This is a problem that we have to continue to revisit until we see results."

Reesa Horton, a resident of Clay City, who spoke at last month's meeting about the same issue, was honest with the board in her wishes.

"I want feedback. I want to know what is going on and I don't think I should be getting them from (News Channel 2-WTWO)," she said. "This is unacceptable."

The Clay City Elementary PTO was represented by Lee Ann Mann and on behalf of the students, they ask for a cap on class size.

"We want you to consider capping class sizes. We have shown concern last spring when this problem arose, and again last month," she said. "We have brought this to the board's attention and we are asking that this being taken seriously."

Board members were once again sympathetic and reassured the parents that they are doing everything they can.

"I thank everyone for coming tonight and speaking to us, and I am sorry that you have too again, but I do hope for a resolution quickly," said board member Terry Barr.

Other board members echoed these same thoughts.

"As a parent and a member of the board I am very concerned," Assistant Secretary Tina Heffner, said. "I agree completely with capping class sizes and I am so happy that we have volunteers that are willing to take the time to help. I also understand that the administration has to make tough decisions on what to cut, it is a work in progress."

Vice President Dottie King tried to remind everyone of the budget constraints and the amount that it does cost to hire a teacher, but still her optimism remained.

"When hiring an employee, it is a recurring expense and that is what takes up 95 percent of our general fund," she said. "I want everyone to know that we are trying and we will continue to work on this to the best of our abilities."


Comments
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If you dont like where your kids are at here is what you do:

1. Move

2. Put them on the bus to Jackson, Staunton...

3. Volunteer time at the kindergarden and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The 30 million dollar building program, guess what, its for YOUR kids. My kids are well on there way out of Clay Community Schools, and thankfully, they have a pretty good toolbelt for college thanks to all the fine teachers, administrators, and board members of this system.

-- Posted by reddevil on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 12:28 AM

So reddevil is saying that every time there is a problem, instead of addressing the issue at hand like they currently are, parents should change schools. Run from your problems. Now that is some great advice.

-- Posted by Jed on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 6:22 AM

I am fairly certain that the money for the renovations is coming from another source. You can't use building money to pay teacher salaries.

I agree something needs to be done. I don't think changing to a new school is the answer. If it were my child in this class I would email, call, and write every school board member and the administration until something was done. Squeaky wheel gets the grease!

-- Posted by sassypants on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 6:59 AM

No one has even mentioned all the grammatical errors in reddevil's comments. Let's hope our children are getting a better education. I graduated many years ago from Brazil High School, but my children attended Clay City Jr/Sr High. Trust me, there is a difference as to how things are done and what classes are offered between the two schools. Things are not equal at all schools within the Clay Community School Corporation.

-- Posted by Justice 4 all on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 7:18 AM

Unfortunately a good portion of the overcrowding problem is a result of economics. It used to be that there was a special fund that subsidized salaries for lower grades in order to have smaller classes. The school would get so much additional money if they kept class size in I think K, 1st and 2nd [maybe 3rd?] under a certain number. This funding would be lost if numbers were higher. That funding is now gone so we have less money to keep the same level of education in place while we SHOULD be constantly improving education to be more competitive as we now compete with the entire world for jobs, not just the mid west.

Our community is now like so many households that have seen a lowering of net wages and rising prices. We have to give up some things that we can do with out in order to keep the things most necessary. Most of the patrons as well as the reporter had already left when board member, Dottie King, said to please tell her what she should cut in order to keep what patrons think are the most important items.

This is what I've been saying for several years now. We are ALREADY cutting academic areas, whether due to larger class sizes or elimination of class sections for a specific course that lowers its availability to a number of students but we are still hanging on to extracurricular activities like they are the main reason for the kids being at school!!! Wake up people! Yes I know we love football and marching band but how many are going to grow up and earn a living playing football or competing in a marching band? No I realize the "coaches" do a great job instilling team work but why not put that effort into academic areas where it is needed more? I am not saying not to have band class. I'm not saying to cut PE. Drama club is not the English class and Academic super bowl is not History class. I don't like to have to cut anything but before I cut meat and vegetables from my budget, I'm going to cut soda and candy. Before I decide I can't pay my taxes, I'm going to quit getting cable or satellite TV. Before I buy a new car, I'm going to drive my old one until it isn't reliable. Before I buy a gas guzzling SUV with twin DVD players and "onstar", I'm going to buy one with good fuel economy and safety features as it's for transportation people, not a status symbol or entertainment center!!!

I love all these extras but WAKE UP PEOPLE!! We can no longer afford them. I contend we couldn't ever afford some of them, like weight rooms for instance that are used by just a few athletes, and a new school building just used by a dozen or so students at a time when we have empty classrooms through out the county. We didn't NEED to keep our elementary districts the same so our kids could go to the same school we did. We need to prioritize our NEEDS and not continue to confuse them with our wants. That's what has gotten us into this situation. From our federal government, to our school corporation to our individual households. We've spent money in the past on things we didn't need and now it's time to pay for those decisions and keep only those things we REALLY need. Tell the board when you ask for something what you are willing to give up in order to keep academics at the highest level. Tell Mr Atkinson that even though he ran on the platform that he would never close a school that now you are willing to see one close if it means we can shift it's maintenance and staffing cost to another school to lower class size by adding more teachers Why not have two 29 student classes share 3 teachers? We don't need more class rooms, we need a better student teacher ratio. Tell the board that you are willing to have your child go to a different school if they can make this happen. Tell them that you are willing to tell your child that there won't be a soccer team next year so there can be an extra section of history or a 4th level foreign language class. A good number of schools are already at this point. It's just a matter of determination and of how many more cuts we can tolerate in academic areas before the majority feels it's time for change.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 12:55 PM

The kids of the marching band pretty much pay their own way. Did you know they pay band fees of almost $300. They also do countless fundraisers to pay for the rest of what they need. (I know the football team does also and they have sponsers) Marching Band is one of the greatest things Northview has! For the most part band kids get better grades, get in less trouble and respect teachers ect. Thats what Mr. Medworth teaches. I dont know how you could talk about cutting that out. There were many kids in my class who would've quit school if they were'nt involved in extracurricular activities. Also i can count about 10 kids out of my graduating class that have gone on to become music teachers.

-- Posted by piper08 on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 3:59 PM

piper08:

I agree with you that the marching band helps with teamwork skills and that Mr Medworth is an excellent mentor. There are also coaches who do the same on their respective teams. Coach Alstott is one of them. He has brought the girls soccer team from obscurity to a real team who work together and learn all sorts of important life skills.

I also agree that parents now pay for a lot towards these extra curriculars compared to what they used to, but the staffing of these programs are still provided by the school corporation. they are not totally funded from the outside.

You missed my point however, I am talking about us having to make hard choices. We are already reducing academic support as well. We have to decide which is more important to us due to the money situation.

Obviously to date,"we" have decided to cut the academic side in favor of the extracurriculars as we have larger classes and fewer course sections. What are we going to choose to cut the next go around? More on academic side or non?

If our children are staying in school only because of participation in extra curriculars, we as parents are not doing our job in getting across to our kids what THEIR job is and what is important to the amount of choices they will have in the future. Maybe we need more of the "Medworth" skills in more of the other subjects [which we do have in many of the teachers]to promote teamwork skills?

I don't want soccer eliminated just as much as you don't want marching band eliminated but what then would you eliminate? Should we go to 35 per class in elementary schools...40 per class?

Do we just teach one section of English and have 75 students per class. Do we eliminate foreign language and no one gets an honors diploma?

What exactly would you eliminate as we are going to have to...and already have?

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sat, Oct 11, 2008, at 8:22 AM

I do agree that the parents need to volunteer more of their time at the schools and help their children get the education that they need and want to learn to be more skillful then what the kids are now.

-- Posted by AmayaTsuki on Sat, Oct 11, 2008, at 9:18 AM

There will never be an easy answer to this quesstion. Or one that will please everyone. ALso to redevil are you going to buy these familys new homes to live in so they can move, how many hours aday are they gonna be on a bus to other school. Get real My children go to Clay City I live about 7 minutes from school they are on the bu s for 1 hour.I know your answer if I dont like it drive them. Sorry I pay taxes it gives me the right to bi-ch. Maybe its time to get rid of somethings or people at the administrators office. Less start with a super. that wont allow flyers for kids to join boy scouts or girl scouts handed out in class & wants to stop them from meeting at the school.But it is okay to pass everything out from the YMCA. Or how about this option Lets get rid of things that arent offered to both ends of the county. That will pay for extra teachers. So one last thought what does it cost the School COrporation for insurance for football at NOrthview just wondered cause thats why Clay city couldnt have it that & the price to sset the fields up. So do the parenets pay for that.

-- Posted by kd323 on Sun, Oct 12, 2008, at 10:24 AM

Northview doesnt have athlete insurance, you have to buy it as a parent. ALL Sports!

If Clay City wants a football team - do it. Problem is Clay City is'nt big enough, neither was Van Buren or Staunton.

Not to dig up any old bones, but Clay City is fortunate that it missed being gobbled up in the consolidation.

-- Posted by reddevil on Sun, Oct 12, 2008, at 11:01 AM

Come on people! You know, being an "outsider" who has only lived here for 13+ years, I see the division of the county as quite sad as it only further polarizes and adds even more obstacles to getting better education for all the kids here. I see each child as being equally as important and that it shouldn't be a competition as to which end is getting more or less. Too bad that years ago there couldn't have been one HS in the middle so we didn't have to duplicate things at each end of the county as that duplication effect has been what has cost a lot of unneeded spending. As far as elimination of a school building. I'll be frank, there are three within the city limits of Brazil and there is not likely to be any increase of population in the city limits while there is room for more building out in county. Shifting one's child from one school to another in the city is NOT going to have them traveling any GREAT additional distance. When the study was done 8-9 years ago it had some shifting between CC and Jackson and some of the Jackson kids then going to CC for HS to boost numbers down there. That would make it possible for more courses to be offered due to adding numbers to HS population.

I was on that committee and my kids were at Jackson at the time. Was I in favor of my kids being bussed farther? No, not particularly but it was the best solution for the majority of the students. We need to realize that this is not a competition between north and south and they are all our children and stop being so selfish and worrying about only the ones that live under your roof. Improving education for anyone in the community is going to improve the entire community.

I'll be frank about something else since it's come up, though I agree that our volunteering can help, it is not a replacement for a qualified teacher, especially in the area of English when kids are in lower grades. How to say this without offending and not having people think that I am saying they aren't good and worthy people.

Though our community is full of good, hard working, loving people, a good number of our local population murder the English language. I will even extend this to a portion of the teachers in our schools and I include myself as I make huge blunders at times as well, especially with spoken language. For this reason, volunteers do not really help in some cases when they are not catching grammatical and spelling errors while helping in the class room. This is especially important when the kids aren't being corrected when they make an error at home and the parent does not realize it either. Sure they can communicate in day to day life locally but put into a professional situation when making a presentation at work or dealing with someone from another culture they will be thought to be uneducated and illiterate. Might not be the truth of it but will be the impression they make.

A good education costs money and you get what you pay for. When making our choices in future with regard to the choice between cutting one thing or another, we have to realize that volunteering is not going to be a substitute for a teacher and paid aides are not either. While they are well used to help the teacher, they should not be used as a substitute for one. I would rather see a third teacher shared between two classrooms than aides being added to cover large class sizes. The corporation saves money using aides and they are good people, but they cannot take the place of a qualified teacher. We are kidding ourselves if we think they are.

Now as to errors on blogging....Unless one of you is an English teacher, what does correcting another blogger accomplish except furthering the division between community members. We are IT people. No one else is going to come in to solve our problems and help make things better around here. If we remain divided and don't look beyond the differences to find projects and subjects about which we can agree and put our effort into, we will get nothing accomplished.

Now again I ask, what are some different things do some of you think you could live without in your schools in order to maintain and maybe improve things on the academic side?

Sassypants is correct that building budget is different from salary/benefit budget, BUT if we had less buildings, we would have less custodians, maintenance, administration. Those are all salary costs that could be put into teacher salaries. Same with coaches I believe. At each of the past three board meetings, formal approval was given to hire various coaches, club advisors and other EC staff. Just what are you willing to give up in order to keep academics afloat? Take ownership of the decisions as if you don't, then the board will do what they think is best and it will be too late for you to give your input. It's already too late for some of the kids in those large classes and those in HS who cannot get into the course as it is no longer offered at different times of the day due to inflexibility of the 6 period day. I've stated what I'd do to keep academics. I don't like the choice but it's the best one I can think of. What's your idea? Don't put mine down unless you give a real viable alternative.

I'd also have you all look at a school district in Las Vegas, New Mexico. They have a long thin district like ours and only ONE High school last I looked. Kids on the bus at the far end for 1 and a 1/2 hours to get to school. It could be a lot worse than what we have now... Our taxes WILL go up and our funding will go down due to our falling numbers of students in the district. Time to make the choice before it is to late and they are made for us. I say we need to relook at closing one school and putting multiple teachers per class room as the primary source for education is the teacher and not the building. Reducing buildings reduces staffing that can go for more teachers. Sell current LEAP center. Sell admin building. Or turn LEAP into needed maintenance building as it has been condemned by our insurance company. From that reduced staffing add a teacher to share between two large classes here and there. Popular option? No. Maybe it will save EC's for a while longer? Maybe?

Now you all can go through this missive and correct my grammar and spelling as this is TOO long to go back and proofread [grin].

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Oct 12, 2008, at 12:17 PM

kd323......

The YMCA flyers are available in the same way the Scouts' flyers are....placed on the table in the main hallway with mention made over the intercom. No special treatment is given to the Y over the Scouts.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Mon, Oct 13, 2008, at 9:14 PM

Don't even start with the idea of cutting funding for band. Band just goes to show what can happen when people want it to be there. Many kids from our area do go on to be involved in a music related field. The entire band staff is a very dedicated group of people. I for one would never agree to cutting it's funding.

-- Posted by sassypants on Tue, Oct 14, 2008, at 12:49 PM

Sassy:

So what would YOU cut?

Eliminate a school?

Make classes larger than now?[already happening]

Eliminate sections of high school courses?[already happening]

Eliminate sports?

I'm saying we have to make a decision to save academics, but seems no one is willing to give up anything except academics. We can still have sports in PE, we can still have concert band as a class.Can no one see the difference between wants and needs? I don't WANT to give up anything but it's a decision we HAVE to make. If you don't make it, the state will come in and make it for you. Can I remind you all of this and say I told you so when you start complaining about the state to everyone? We have a chance to make the decisions and we are throwing it away.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Oct 15, 2008, at 1:34 PM

big pappy been to the school web site the y papers are on the web site. As for the answer to this problem there is no easyone. We can sit & argue it all we want but in all reality it is really going to take a combition of all the ideas on her to make this work.

-- Posted by kd323 on Thu, Oct 16, 2008, at 9:53 PM


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