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Forums need attendees

December 5, 2012
The Leader Herald

The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education is offering district residents an opportunity to help determine the feasibility of grade-level grouping.

We hope district residents will take them up on the offer.

The district has investigated grade-level grouping as the number of students has decreased and the district looks to be more efficient.

The district currently has kindergarten through sixth-grade students at its three elementary schools. Glebe Street Elementary School has 319 students in 14 rooms. Pleasant Avenue Elementary School has 297 students in 14 classrooms. Warren Street Elementary School has 334 students in 14 classrooms and prekindergarten.

There will be two two-hour evening forums where people will break into eight- to 10-person groups to look at six areas of concern related to the possible merger plans.

The six areas of concern that will be the focus of each group at the meetings include "special area," "parents," "transportation," "teacher support," "communication" and "logistics."

Residents should take the board up on its offer to play a part in the process. This is a chance for people to voice any concerns they have about the two proposed options for grade-level grouping. If people do not voice their concerns - and any possible solutions or alternatives they have - they may never get another good chance.

The first public forum will be held after the regular school board meeting Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Attendees will look at a proposal to send prekindergarten through first-grade students to Pleasant Avenue Elementary School, second- and third-grade students to Glebe Street Elementary School and fourth- through sixth-grade students to Warren Street Elementary School.

The second forum will be Dec. 20. Participants will look at a proposal to send prekindergarten through first-grade students to Pleasant Avenue School, second- through fourth-grade students to Warren Street School and fifth- through sixth-grade students to Glebe Street School.

As officials pointed out at the school board meeting Monday, members of the public may bring potential problems to their attention.

Whether someone is in favor of or against either or both proposals, these forums at least offer them a chance to learn more about what will happen under grade-level grouping.

The forums also provide people with the opportunity to learn about other concerns and suggestions first-hand. It can be easy for incorrect information to start circulating among the public if too many people rely on a few people who attend to tell them what is being discussed.

It's common for people to not think about these issues unless they involve someone they know.

However, all district residents and employees have a significant stake in what happens under these proposals.

District taxpayers have one great reason to be interested: These are your tax dollars at work. You might as well try to make certain they would be spent wisely in the future.



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