UPDATE: Dec. 8, 2015
Superintendent Crist met today with Dousman Transport Company regarding transportation options for this “center school” concept idea.
DELAVAN — Delavan-Darien School District parents and community members are invited to provide input and learn about a proposal to change the district’s elementary building grade configuration structures.
The school board is considering moving to an Elementary ‘Center’ School concept to both save money and improve the educational opportunities for all students.
The Center School concept and its benefits will be explained at two public information meetings—
- 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7,
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9,
- both held at the School Administration Center, 324 Beloit St., Delavan.
Center schools have all sections of certain grades at a particular school for the entire district. For example, all kindergarten students (currently in three different buildings) would be all together in one building. Likewise for preschool, first grade, second grade, and so on.
“The concept is educationally sound and can reduce our operating costs,” Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D., said. “It is a way to hopefully avoid more future referendums and still provide for quality learning. The drawback typically is student transportation.”
Through attrition, staff could be reduced between approximately four and nine teachers, saving upward of $750,000 in salaries and benefits on the high end, Crist said. If bussing transportation costs increased under the proposal, there would still be a net savings, even if staffing were reduced by four positions.
The model would allow for the reductions because class sizes could be balanced equally across all classrooms. Currently, with inter-district boundary lines for elementary schools, some teachers have greater numbers of students in their classrooms than colleagues teaching the same grade at another school.
- Crist sees other benefits to the switch such as:
- gaining efficiencies with staff and material resources,
- the ability to balance classes in number and by student needs (language, special education, etc.),
- the ability to have greater teacher collaboration among grade level teams,
- having all members of a graduating class together in one building for all schooling years (4K-12),
- the ability to nurture all students by pairing them with a teacher best suited for students’ needs,
- and more.
“We’ve looked at this idea in the recent past and saw the benefits then,” Crist said. “The major hurdles were student transportation and finding financial savings. Now, with the class sizes we’re currently seeing, we can significantly reduce costs and balance classes under this proposal. The financial savings only help to support the academic benefits I feel this schooling structure offers.
“I welcome all families and community members to our public information sessions to learn more and share their own ideas for improving our schools.”