Meeting to answer questions about future of Borden schools produces more questions PDF Print E-mail

A meeting to answer questions about the future of West Clark and Borden schools last Wednesday (Feb. 7) only produced more questions for the 50 or so people in attendance.

 

Most of the questions concern finances, logistics and boundaries of the current West Clark School district.

There was also some discussion about Borden’s future, once/if, Silver Creek’s succession from the district becomes reality.

One of those options could be annexing with East Washington School Corporation.

Much of the early part of the meeting involved representatives from East Washington talking about some of the many positive things they have going on within their school corporation.

EW Superintendent Dennis Stockdale gave a brief overview of the school corporation and then allowed Elementary Principal Debbie Esray, Middle School Principal Amber King and High School Principal Darin Farris talk about the things happening within each of their buildings.

One of the bright spots that seemed to evoke most of the questions from the crowd was the fact that East Washington is able to allow every student K through 12 to have Chrome books, or one to one technology.

Two board members from East Washington were also present.

As far as a future annexation or merger between Borden and East Washington Stockdale wanted to make two points abundantly clear.

The first is that there is no desire to merge schools, only districts, and second, at this point, East Washington’s only involvement is as an observer in seeing what happens with the West Clark district.

“This is a long process,” Stockdale told those in attendance. “There is a process that we will have to undertake in our district on our end to make sure that we fit and you have to make some decisions on your end and ultimately the West Clark and East Washington school boards will be making the final decisions.

“In my mind though, I think it’s very important, before we get too far down the road either way, there is no desire and no interest from our district to consolidate any of the schools. There is no desire to do that. We feel strongly that thriving rural community schools are where it’s at. We need to make sure we continue that. Thriving community schools are important to Borden just like they are to Pekin and we have to keep that in mind as we walk through this process.”

Stockdale said in his mind there are a lot of reasons an annexation between the schools can work, but before the discussion gets too far, the elephant in the room, on both sides, is whether or not the financials work.

“The issue is going to come down to finances,” he said. “Is there enough assesed valuation for both schools to have positive tax impact for the taxpayers and number two is there enough general fund dollars that will keep programs alive. Then one step further, not only keep programs alive, but keep adding programs necessary to prepare our kids for their future. Before we get too far down the road, those kinds of studies have to take place.”

Those in attendance had some specific questions about programs offered at East Washington from the use of technology, to pre-school on down to the number of students the high school sends to Prosser.

Once those questions had run their course, the real topic on everyone’s mind came to the surface and that’s the current situation with West Clark and the succession of Silver Creek.

Interim Superintendent Dr. John Reed was in attendance and he made it clear that the Silver Creek representatives on the board were moving forward with putting a plan together to move forward with succession.

Reed said West Clark has called on Bose, McKinney and Evans, who are attorneys who specialize in education from Indianapolis.

Reed said there are so many things that will have to be sorted out.

An example he used was the student data systems used at Borden and East Washington. Both use a different company and both are under contract with the companies they are currently using.

Reed made it clear that Bose, McKinney and Evans are working for West Clark not any one school within the district.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work already,” Reed said.

He encouraged those in attendance to pay close attention to school board meetings as that’s where a lot of the information will be discussed.

There was a number of questions for Reed about the future of school boundaries, but again he could not speak to specifics and said those are some of the things the board will be discussing at upcoming meetings.

A story containing a  number of other questions raised at the meeting can be found in this section of the paper.

A meeting to answer questions about the future of West Clark and Borden schools last Wednesday (Feb. 7) only produced more questions for the 50 or so people in attendance.

Most of the questions concern finances, logistics and boundaries of the current West Clark School district.

There was also some discussion about Borden’s future, once/if, Silver Creek’s succession from the district becomes reality.

One of those options could be annexing with East Washington School Corporation.

Much of the early part of the meeting involved representatives from East Washington talking about some of the many positive things they have going on within their school corporation.

EW Superintendent Dennis Stockdale gave a brief overview of the school corporation and then allowed Elementary Principal Debbie Esray, Middle School Principal Amber King and High School Principal Darin Farris talk about the things happening within each of their buildings.

One of the bright spots that seemed to evoke most of the questions from the crowd was the fact that East Washington is able to allow every student K through 12 to have Chrome books, or one to one technology.

Two board members from East Washington were also present.

As far as a future annexation or merger between Borden and East Washington Stockdale wanted to make two points abundantly clear.

The first is that there is no desire to merge schools, only districts, and second, at this point, East Washington’s only involvement is as an observer in seeing what happens with the West Clark district.

“This is a long process,” Stockdale told those in attendance. “There is a process that we will have to undertake in our district on our end to make sure that we fit and you have to make some decisions on your end and ultimately the West Clark and East Washington school boards will be making the final decisions.

“In my mind though, I think it’s very important, before we get too far down the road either way, there is no desire and no interest from our district to consolidate any of the schools. There is no desire to do that. We feel strongly that thriving rural community schools is where it’s at. We need to make sure we continue that. Thriving community schools are important to Borden just like they are to Pekin and we have to keep that in mind as we walk through this process.”

Stockdale said in his mind there are a lot of reasons an annexation between the schools can work, but before the discussion gets too far, the elephant in the room, on both sides, is whether or not the financials work.

“The issue is going to come down to finances,” he said. “Is there enough assesed valuation for both schools to have positive tax impact for the taxpayers and number two is there enough general fund dollars that will keep programs alive. Then one step further, not only keep programs alive, but keep adding programs necessary to prepare our kids for their future. Before we get too far down the road, those kinds of studies have to take place.”

Those in attendance had some specific questions about programs offered at East Washington from the use of technology, to pre-school on down to the number of students the high school sends to Prosser.

Once those questions had run their course, the real topic on everyone’s mind came to the surface and that’s the current situation with West Clark and the succession of Silver Creek.

Interim Superintendent Dr. John Reed was in attendance and he made it clear that the Silver Creek representatives on the board were moving forward with putting a plan together to move forward with succession.

Reed said West Clark has called on Bose, McKinney and Evans, who are attorneys who specialize in education from Indianapolis.

Reed said there are so many things that will have to be sorted out.

An example he used was the student data systems used at Borden and East Washington. Both use a different company and both are under contract with the companies they are currently using.

Reed made it clear that Bose, McKinney and Evans are working for West Clark not any one school within the district.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work already,” Reed said.

He encouraged those in attendance to pay close attention to school board meetings as that’s where a lot of the information will be discussed.

There was a number of questions for Reed about the future of school boundaries, but again he could not speak to specifics and said those are some of the things the board will be discussing at upcoming meetings.

A story containing a  number of other questions raised at the meeting can be found in this section of the paper.