Janesville58.6°

Parkview board looks at balancing class sizes

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GINA R. HEINE
April 20, 2010
— Parkview school administrators will seek volunteers among Orfordville Elementary third-grade parents who might be willing to send their kids to Newark Elementary to balance class sizes next year.

A discussion at Monday night’s school board meeting about how to solve the imbalance brought parent concerns about the future of Newark school, leading board President John King to comment.


“Eventually we’re going to have to do something—to close a school, consolidate them,” he said. “We just cannot afford to keep all these schools open, and it’s going to be tough decisions, and nobody’s going to like them … whether it’s Newark or Footville, we don’t know yet. We’re in the beginning stages of looking at all this stuff.”


Now the district has three third-grade classes at Orfordville and one at Newark, Superintendent Steve Lutzke said. But projected enrollment next year shows class sizes at Orfordville could be 22 to 23 students while the Newark class would be 16, he said.


That seven-student difference is a concern, said Lutzke, who also has a son in third grade at Orfordville.


Possible options discussed would be to move all Newark fourth-grade students next year to Orfordville and balance the class sizes, ask for volunteers or change boundary lines.


Residents who spoke at the meeting requested the district ask for volunteers from Orfordville first. The district will see what the results are from a letter seeking volunteers.


Parent Kate Brown wondered why the district would bus 16 Newark students to Orfordville when it could just bus a handful of Orfordville kids to Newark.


“I also have a huge concern that if we lose the fourth grade at Newark, if we’re ever going to get it back,” she said.


Newark resident and parent Marissa Neal said she was there to protest moving any classes out of Newark because she’s watched the school be put on the chopping block over the years.


“I feel this a huge mistake,” she said, “because what is being overlooked is Newark is an asset—no—Newark is a shining star in our district.”


Other business

On Monday, the Orfordville Parkview School Board:


-- Heard an update on a possible merger of show choirs with Brodhead. Superintendent Steve Lutzke clarified the issue by saying Brodhead had first approached Parkview about the idea, not the other way around as was stated at a Brodhead School Board meeting last week. Both schools are in preliminary discussions to determine whether it’s a good idea, officials said. Parkview will be posting the open position of Pizazz Show Choir Program director outside the district.


Resident Tom Torkelson questioned the costs and other details of the possible merger during the public comment period.


-- Approved applying for a zero-percent interest loan to put a new roof on the junior/senior high school. The board’s action was needed to meet the April 30 application deadline, but a decision on going forward with the project will be made in the coming months.



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