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.