BROCTON - After the tension at the Nov. 29 meeting of the District Advisory Committee for the Brocton Westfield feasibility study, Gary Planty from Brocton found a way to make everyone laugh at its December meeting. Following a suggestion from Consultant David Kurzawa, he thought outside of the box.
During a serious discussion about what transportation would look like in a new district, he said, "The name 'bus run' should be changed to 'rolling study hall.'" After the meeting was over he said even though it was funny, there was also a serious intent behind his words. "There are things that could be done during a bus ride that there may not be time for in school such as character education."
The consultant group conducting the feasibility study has distributed many sheets of information to, answered many questions from, and been challenged by the advisory committee made up of residents of the two districts.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane Chodan
Consultant David Kurzawa explains the homework assignment to the Advisory Committee, urging the members to think “outside the box.”
At the most recent meeting of the group, the consultants tried to structure the meeting to allow more input by committee members. Kurzawa even gave the group a homework assignment. By drawing on the information that had been presented in the committee meetings, each participant was asked to respond in writing (which could be anonymous) before the next meeting to the following:
Based on all of the data provided to date, do you believe that Brocton and Westfield should merge? (Please answer this from your informed point of view, not from the perspectives of those you know.)
Completion of an Administrative Staffing worksheet, recommending numbers of administrator for a combined district.
A recommendation for student to teacher ratio various levels, including a maximum and minimum for courses in the high school.
A suggested building configuration.
A transportation solution.
Recommendations for future use of the buildings.
The impact of the building configuration on the community.
Kurzawa urged committee members to "think out of the box, but think realistically."
The consultants are to take the input into consideration when writing the final report.
After the explanation of the assignment, a question submitted for the committee's response during that meeting was: If you learn that the high school is to be located in the other district (that you do not live in) would you support the merger. Members were asked to write their response and then move to a corner of the room indicated whether they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed. Those in each area discussed their reasoning and a presenter from each area spoke to the group as a whole.
Doug Kaltenbach, reporting for the largest group which strongly agreed said, "The positives outweigh the negatives. ... A new school is exciting. It's a new situation wherever it goes. ... The distance is only eight miles. ... A regional high school is a lot worse than what is proposed here."
Consultant Marilyn Kurzawa stressed that the closure of either building was not a given at this time, but the answers do suggest there is wide support for a merger within the committee whose members have become highly informed about the status of both districts.
Other topics considered were budget and tax history of the district; student achievement and high school programming; high school graduation data and post graduation outcomes; athletic, music and art facilities; support staff contracts and questions; and transportation and enrollment.
Complete notes released by the committee are available on each district's website.
A joint meeting of the Westfield and Brocton Boards of Education is scheduled for Jan. 16 at 5 p.m. in Westfield. A meeting of the joint committee is to follow at 6 p.m.
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