Delavan school district considers its building usage
DELAVAN First graders should not have to ride a school bus for 65 minutes.
Everyone agrees on that.
What's more difficult to resolve is how to best serve the educational needs of children in an age of dwindling resources.
That's the challenge facing Delavan-Darien School officials and board members.
For the past month and a half, officials here have been talking with parents about restructuring the way school buildings are used.
At a meeting Monday, the school board met to discuss options.
The district has five schools: Darien Elementary, Turtle Creek Elementary, Wileman Elementary, Phoenix Middle School and Delavan-Darien High School.
Earlier this year, Superintendent Robert Crist asked the board to consider realigning buildings. Options include:
-- Learning centers. Each school would have two or three grades. For example, early childhood to 4-year-old kindergartners in one school. Kindergarten to second grade would be in another school and third and fourth in still another.
Phoenix Middle School would be home to fifth to eighth graders.
-- A combination of a learning center and a traditional model. All early childhood students and 4-year-old kindergartners would attend Wileman. Darien and Turtle Creek would house grades one through four. Phoenix Middle School would house grades five to eight.
-- Move only fifth grade to Phoenix Middle Schools, leave all the other schools as they are now.
Why change at all?
The learning center model keeps all grade level teachers and aides together, giving children the most intensive experience, school officials say.
Additionally, upcoming science technology wngineering and math (STEM) standards will emphasize more lab experimentation and collaboration. Phoenix Middle School has more facilities to accommodate labs.
Board member Steve Logterman said most of the concerns he has heard concern transportation. Cost is an issue, as is the distance. Board members and school officials echoed his concerns.
"If there's a 65-minute bus ride from one side of the district to another, then that's off the table," said Crist.
Board members stressed that they hadn't made decision yet and were still gathering information.