Items on the agenda were:
2.Presidential Perspective on Consolidation and Board Operations, Committee Description
3. Board insights from consolidated school districts
4. Curriculum Alignment
5. Consolidated Outlook
6. Potential Efficiencies
7. Resolution Discussion
8. Opportunity for Questions
9. Building Tour by request.
Blair Rogecki, President of Richfield gave his insights not only as school board member but also as father of children in school and as a tax payer. The role of education funding and expectations have changed in the past 10 years. As a tax payer we all want the best that we can afford. He noted both Friess Lake and Richfield operate efficiently with quality output and both districts have seen and will continue to see difficulties with funding. He believes the schools can do better together in many ways. He wants to take a good product and make it great. The merger can build a stronger community district and each district wants to understand the needs of the other district.
Tara Villalobos, Richfield School District Administrator reviewed Curriculum Alignment and how the consolidation benefits students as well as staff and community. She listed various benefits that were similar in both districts. While there were some differences they found the districts were more alike than different. A subcommittee had listed their concerns as well as how different the cultures might be in each district. The foundations of reading, writing etc were common between both schools. Curriculums aligned well with the content of teaching the same even though they might use different text books.
John Engstrom, Friess Lake Administrator said another meeting will be held next week June 28th at Friess Lake School at 5:45 p.m.. He explained how the subcommittee focused on how they had to have wider options, test their assumptions, attain distance before deciding and prepare to be wrong and listen if so.
Then the main focus of discussion by all school board members was how to move forward and create a new school board. There are five members in each district now and they recommend a five person board in the future. A few options for a unified school board could initially begin with seven board members, one from each district and five at large. They also contemplated two members from each district with three at large. Also in the beginning all 10 members will cooperate to move the process forward.
New school board term limits would be staggered and modeled after other districts that have merged. After one year it would become a five person board. There are many requirements that the board members must comply with so their decisions meet state law. These ideas will be forwarded to legal support to formulate options for the next meeting.
During the discussion each board member noted that they are in favor of consolidation and want to make the best decisions for students, teachers and area residents. Even with consolidation the new district will be considered a small district.
There were a few residents who had questions and comments and noted their support for the consolidation.