Public Meeting Tonight about 9th Grade

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School Board to hear from public – 6 PM at Tanglewood


By Dave Freneaux
    Parents, teachers and concerned citizens will gather tonight at 6 PM at Tanglewood Elementary to meet with the School Board and Superintendent Faulk to discuss the future of Central's 9th Grade Academy.  The Superintendent will present five options as to where to house the 9th graders and how the logistics of each option could be worked out.  The School Board will then discuss the issue before opening up the floor for comments and questions from the public.  Questions which cannot be immediately answered will be addressed at the second of these meetings next Thursday at 6 PM at Tanglewood.  There will be no decision made and no votes will be taken by the School Board at these two meetings.  The issue will ultimately come before the School Board in a regular meeting where a decision will be made.
    A number of possible scenarios have been informally discussed and include housing the 9th Graders at the current Middle or Intermediate School, or leaving them at the High School and adding more temporary classrooms.  Another possibility would be to utilize the empty classrooms at the newly constructed schools opening in the fall.  Anticipating growth, the new school facility has a capacity of 2,400 students, while expected enrollment is less that 1,900 for the upcoming school year.  Next year's 9th Grade is expected to be about 350 students.
    The largest concern, however, is the quality of the education of the students.  Superintendent Faulk has stressed that this is the top priority in this matter.  Concerns have been raised about the access 9th Graders would have to take advanced courses currently offered them at CHS.  Other concerns have centered around music and sports programs where 9th Graders often participate with the 10th-12th graders.  These meetings should allow all educational and logistics concerns to be discussed and responded to.