School board makes moves

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The West Liberty School Board met Monday, Sept. 18. Major topics of the evening included class sizes and new board members.

To begin, a proposal for an early review of “Class Size Guidelines” died through lack of a motion to begin the meeting.

With one of the largest incoming classes at the West Liberty Early Learning Center (ELC) in history, Jaclyn Hall requested a review of Board Policy 603.1A.

“That policy was certainly written with good intentions,” she told the school board during an open forum, “But I don’t think it really goes far enough.”

Board policy is reviewed on a four-year rotating basis. The “Class Size Guidelines” was just reviewed in May, so won’t be up for another review until 2020.

More than 230 students were enrolled at the ELC for the 2017/18 school year, which includes the pre-school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs.

Due to the numbers many parents who had hoped their children would be chosen to become a part of the Dual Language program were denied.

The Dual Language Program, which offers students an opportunity to become fluent in two languages, usually English and Spanish, is offered for all grade levels at WLCSD.

However, getting in during the younger years can be a challenge. Wording in board policy 603.1A states:

“We have determined that the number of sections of Dual Language at each grade level, K-5, should be limited to three sections.”

“There continues to be signals that make us as parents wonder about how easy it is to execute on that policy,” added Hall.

However, given that the policy in question had just been reviewed back in May 2017, the board was hesitant to open up 603.1A so soon to change.

“We completed a thorough review of this policy just four months ago based on the information and data we were provided by the administration in May,” President Chris Martin later told the Index.

“I would speculate that due to the fact there was no new information or data which would have given us reason to review the policy, we did not choose to review this policy out of sequence,” she added.

Thus, the request died via lack of a motion during the board meeting.

The growing population of West Liberty, and the growing number of students in WLCSD has been an ongoing topic for the board.

Just recently a five-year plan to update all of the facilities was released, which will aid in the growth of the district.

However, the growing plans have also put a burden on entrance into the Dual Language Program, which has become a major draw for community members.

“Last Spring when my husband and I had to make the decision to check the box of wanting my child in the program, it was a no brainer decision for us,” said Emily Neeld.

However, she like many others did not receive entrance. That being said, the Dual Language Program does allow students to enter at later grade levels.

Next, the school board officially accepted election results from Tuesday, Sept. 12. There were three candidates for two school board spots.

Emily Geertz was re-elected while Stephanie Dengler was elected to her first term on the school board. Board Member Jose Zacarias came in third.

That being said, Zacarias motioned to accept the results and officially retired from the board, allowing Dengler to take his spot a few minutes later.

The school board now officially consists of Emily Geertz, Stephanie Dengler, Lynne Sasmazer, David Millage and President Chris Martin.

Chris Martin was nominated and accepted the role of president, Lynne Sasmazer was nominated and accepted the role of vice-president.

Current Board Secretary and Treasurer Brietta Collier was sworn in to the position again. The following was also approved:

-School board meetings will continue to be the first and third Monday of every month at 6 p.m.

-Lynch Dallas as attorney for matters of students and personnel, while an RFP will be put out for a attorney for local issues.

-Vicki Vernon as the District 504 Coordinator, Ralph Hughes as the District Equity Coordinator

-The West Liberty Index as the official newspaper

-Stephanie Paulsen and Russ Hughes as Level 1 Investigators and Jim Sweeney & Associates as Level 2 Investigators.

-Chris Martin to the Local School Improvement Advisory Council (LSIAC)
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