In 79 days, the Ruthven-Ayrshire school board and the Graettinger-Terril school board will make their final decisions regarding their plan for academic sharing. The agreement they finalize will go into effect beginning the 2013-14 school year.
At Monday night's meeting, the Ruthven-Ayrshire school board continued discussions on collecting community input. Beginning Wed., the communities of Ruthven and Ayrshire are invited to complete an online survey regarding the opportunity for whole-grade sharing with the Graettinger-Terril school district. The survey will be compiled and reviewed before the board makes their final decision.
"Since we started this discussion, we wanted to make sure all of the community members had a chance to include their input," R-A Board President Barry Fischer said. "We want to get as many people as possible to take the survey."
"The board has always been one to seek community input," R-A Superintendent Andrew Woiwood said. "Ultimately, however, it is still the board who makes the final decision."
The board is currently discussing three sharing options: Whole-grade sharing, both one- and two-way, partial-grade sharing, or reorganization. Should a whole-grade sharing agreement be finalized, sixth- through eighth-graders will attend middle school in one district location, while high school students will attend school in the other.
"Everything is still up in the air," Woiwood said.
The administrators of each school met earlier this month to discuss what a whole-grade sharing agreement would entail, regarding enrollment, schedule planning, board perspectives, timelines and transcripts. The two boards will meet together for discussion next month in meetings facilitated by AEA Chief Administrator Jeff Herzberg.
"The two boards will have to meet face-to-face and work things out," Woiwood said.
A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 20, which allows the board the required 30 days before making an official decision by Feb. 1.
"The hearing is intended for the public to have their say before the board makes their decision," Woiwood said.
Prior to the meetings, the board listed a number of items that they would like to see out of a joint district. These items include:
- Expanded curriculum choices
- Dual-credit staff
- 2011-12 assessment scores from both G-T and R-A
- Financial data from both districts
- Assurance that appropriate class sizes will be maintained
- A plan to utilize the facilities of both schools for the best benefit of the students
In order to make the best possible decision, Woiwood is studying schools who have negotiated sharing contracts in the past, in order for the board to see real-life examples on how each type of sharing agreement has worked in similar schools and communities.
A state audit of the school financial records determined that the Ruthven-Ayrshire school district needed to increase their hot lunch prices. The price, previously set at $2.10 for a student lunch and $2.60 for an adult lunch, did not meet the minimum price for free- and reduced-lunch reimbursement. Because the reimbursement price is $2.15, the school is required to raise their lunch prices to $2.15 for a student lunch and $3 for an adult lunch.
"My understanding is that they haven't raised prices in the past," R-A Superintendent Andrew Woiwood said. "But they're increasing because they have to."
A note was passed out at parent-teacher conferences, detailing the increase in lunch costs.