Elma school to close —LS-C to have one, two grades

Howard-Winneshiek School Board took Supt. John Carver’s recommendation of closing the Elma school, in a bid to bring all the grade levels together at the school board meeting on Dec. 9.

There is not enough space in Cresco to hold all the grade levels, so one or two grades would be bussed to Lime Springs-Chester Elementary for at least three years. If the trend of losing 20 students per year continues, all grades could possibly be folded into the K-8 building, closing the LS-C building.

• Carver gave several reasons for his proposal. “I recommend we stop the practice of combination classrooms.” LS-C has been practicing the combining of grade levels for the past few years and Elma for several years before that.

The superintendent explained, “It is not a teacher problem. It’s the structure.” He said instructors teaching one grade level have completely different ideas than those teaching multiple grades. There cannot be collaboration if they are not on the same level.

“We need to position our teachers, so they can be the best they can be.”

• Another reason is to stop duplication of services. With all the students in a grade level in one building—teaching staff would be divided more equally.

• Also, all the students would be given the same education and able to use the same resources. One example of this is that Cresco Elementary is a SINA (School In Need of Assistance). Because of this, additional funds are given to the district (for that building) to aid the teaching of students. The outlying centers do not get the benefit of those extra resources.

Carver promised the preschools and daycares in both towns will stay the same. “The preschool could be a foundation from which we can build,” he added.

The question came up whether the board should make a decision that night or table it. Board member James Kitchen answered, “I think we’ve done our due diligence,” adding they have been mulling it over. Doug Berg agreed saying they have all lost sleep over the decision.

On roll call, all answered aye, although Duane Bodermann of Elma hesitated before voting to close his alma mater.

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One Response

  1. […] the briefs posted at the Lime Springs Herald online news site, the news of the closure (source of the passage at top) also indicated that Lime Springs-Chester Elementary could follow if […]

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