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Vote Coming Later This Week on Proposal for Richmond and Davis Elementary Schools; Parents Continue to Cite Issues with Plan

District 303 officials lay out plans for proposed primary school.

Where once there was a standing-room only available a month ago, now the crowd of parents has dwindled to fill about half of the gym.

However, a large group of parents continue to come to discussions and meetings involving a District 303 proposal to merge the students Davis and Richmond still push hard for the ability to opt out of the proposed plan.

A vote is scheduled to take place at a special meeting on Thursday. On Monday, while a dozen parents still asked during public comment for alternatives to the plan, district officials laid out specifics for the new primary school that would house kindergarten through second grade students from both elementary schools.

The new schools would help the district addresses issues at both facilities while adding more emphasis on foreign language instruction and technology, according to officials.

Denise Liechty, current principal at Corron Elementary School and proposed principal for the primary school said that while the core curriculum would remain the same, the school would emphasize literacy.

“It’s not a finished vision. We need to get together as parents. We need to get together as staff,” Liechty said, outlining the plan for school board members Monday night.

Both the primary school, which is proposed for the current Davis building, and an intermediate school for third- through fifth-grade students at Richmond, would operate as one school on two campuses, sharing the same goals and principals operating in tandem, Liechty said.

Just a few minutes into the presentation, board members began questioning officials presenting a primary school program that includes the literacy curriculum in place at all district elementary schools.

“It sounds like something we’re doing at every single elementary school,” said board President Scott Nowling. He asked what this new program would do to enhance literacy learning uniquely from other elementary schools.

According to the officials, the K-2 school staff and teachers would have a primary focus on literacy and would be able to zero in on the needs of students. 

Parents Continue to Raise Concerns

While the crowd size might have decreased, residents who took issues with some portion of the proposal or with the controversy that came after it was announced in February in a last attempt on Monday to reach the board before it comes to a vote later this week.

“Nothing that harms a community as this proposal has done is ultimately a good thing,” said Ed McNally of St. Charles.

One Davis parent said she asked a lawyer to review the proposal. Randee Donovan told board members her attorney concluded the proposal did not comply with No Child Left Behind and regulations pertaining to restructuring plan under the statute.

Steve Schulze, who has three children currently at Davis, said that he didn’t come to advocate for any specific plan but that he opposed the idea of “forcing people” into a plan.

District officials have proposed allowing parents to opt in or opt of the intermediate school only.

Janet Dieter March 15, 2011 at 04:05 PM
As an ex Davis family (and current Thompson/East family) I wish my children could have had the opportunity to participate in a program such as this. Change is never easy, and I'm sure there will be bumps in the road as this is implemented, but how can additional focus on technology, foreign language and literacy be bad? Good luck Davis/Richmond families!! Enjoy being part of a new program. I get the feeling that this will be the new trend, and you get to be the first!!
Jhennifer A. Amundson March 15, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Our family is also on the way out of Richmond (where they have flourished, both academically and socially), so our children will not be able to benefit from this proposal which will only enhance the ability and capacity of St. Charles' excellent teachers to serve their students.
Ourkids2 March 15, 2011 at 07:00 PM
I hope the that the BoE votes to approve this plan - these communities cannot wait for 'the perfect solution' any longer. This is an extraordinary opportunity and if the board chooses not to allow choice, I still see that parents that opposes this plan so strongly do indeed have a choice - private school. We are in a Public School System and the administration and BoE needs to take control of this situation...we can no longer allow small groups to take over with claims based only out of fear. It's time to vote this plan into action, move on and be positive. Negativity has no place at these 2 schools any longer!
Nick Swedberg March 16, 2011 at 10:22 PM
The big vote is scheduled for tomorrow. Who is going to be at the meeting?

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