The Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education invited all administrators and community members attending the regular board meeting held Jan. 24 to discuss major changes in the district next school year.
The board had requested cost breakdowns for two possible scenarios: 1) having kindergarten through fourth grades at R.C. Waters Elementary with fifth through eighth remaining at the Middle School; and 2) moving fourth to the Middle School and eighth to the High School. The administration was also asked their opinion on the types of programming that are most effective in teaching the students and how those programs would affect grade-level grouping.
After considering class size, future enrollment predictions and costs, and after listening to all input, the board decided to move forward with the following: R.C. Waters Elementary will house kindergarten through third grade; the Middle School will house fourth through seventh grades; and the High School will hold grades eight through 12.
While the decision regarding grade configurations has been made, more decisions to ensure a smooth transition for all students and families will be addressed in the coming months.
Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools will also be consolidating bus schedules into a single morning and afternoon route for all grade levels. This will require new starting times for the three buildings. Details will be outlined in the next issue of the Sampler.
The Board also discussed the upcoming renewal levy that will appear on the March 6 ballot. While the Board is considering every aspect of the school system in an effort to cut expenses and balance the budget, the passage of the renewal levy, is critical. This is a renewal levy only and will not raise taxes.
Finally, the board asked all attendees to consider new ways to communicate with parents, staff and the community. A new Communications Committee will be created to gather input from the community and set up a new system for the exchange of information in the form of comments, questions and answers.