Beatrice Public Schools Asked to Slow Down, on Elementary Restructuring

BEATRICE – After five community meetings and 285 responses to an online survey, some parents want the Beatrice Public School District to put the brakes on an elementary restructuring plan, for one year.

School Board members and administrators held a meeting last night to discuss the ongoing problem of transferring students each year to deal with inequality in class sizes, as the district continues to see gradually declining enrollment. During the public input process, Elementary Principal Betty Replogle says parents were largely unwilling to voluntarily move their kids around, between elementary buildings.

Superintendent Pat Nauroth says the process has basically boiled down to two options…continuing with K-through-5 education at all three elementary schools, or going to a grade-level arrangement…K-5 at Paddock Lane, K-through-2nd grade at Lincoln Elementary, and grades 3-to-5 at Stoddard.

:28                  “fifteen years”

This year, Cedar Elementary was transitioned to a Beatrice Community Preschool for three and four-year-old children.

:23                  “stopped this”

Nauroth says some parents have questioned whether restructuring is a way to force a vote on another elementary bond issue. The Superintendent says that’s not the case.

:22                  “bond issue”

Neal Trantham is a parent of elementary school children at Lincoln School.  He told school officials that all of the alternatives being considered were generated by school administration.  He said it’s possible citizens may have some ideas on other options.  He also said with a new superintendent coming into the district on July 1st, it would give Jason Alexander time to look at the options.

:10                  “buyer’s remorse”

Trantham recommended formation of a committee with teachers, administrators, parents and others to address the issue over the spring and summer, then offer a recommendation for the new superintendent.

Nauroth says he has planned to bring a formal recommendation to the school board for action, in April.  He said he’s leaning toward a recommendation for grade-level elementary buildings in the district.

Brett Essink works for the Fairbury Public Schools but has children in the Beatrice School District.  He feels the community can step back and “take a look at the big picture”….including facility needs, possible future construction and student needs.

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