9th Grade Academy Public Meeting Tonight

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    The second and final School Board committee meeting to take input concerning housing the 9th Grade Academy will be held tonight at 6PM at Tanglewood Elementary.  A week ago 150 parents, students, school faculty, and interested citizens attended a presentation and input session held by the Central Community School Board.  Superintendent Faulk laid out concerns and options regarding where to locate the 9th Graders currently at Central High.  Changes in the configuration of the 9th Grade Academy for educational and developmental reasons, as well as overcrowding at the High School, are factors in forcing the School System to consider options to accommodate or move the 9th Graders for at least two years.
    Mr. Faulk explained the need for separation of the core classes for the 9th Grade to allow a more self-contained educational setting.  He also shared that to keep the 9th grade at CHS would mean continuing to rent T-Buildings and likely add more T-Buildings for the next school year.  Two options were given as possible long-term solutions to house the 9th Grade Academy, adding a wing to the High School or renovating the old Central Middle School main building.  Each of these options carry a price tag of approximately $5 million.
    In the short term, the Superintendent gave three options, continuing to rent the former Starkey Academy, adding T-Buildings at the High School, or locating the 9th Graders in the newly constructed school facilities.  The new schools were built to house 2,400 students and current enrollment is just over 1,900, leaving room for the 9th Graders for the next few years should that decision be made.  Mr. Faulk, many times during the presentation, emphasized that the first consideration will always be the quality of education provided to the students.
    Passionate pleas were made not to move the 9th grade out of the High School, even for the two years required to add a wing to the school.  The largest potential obstacle to this concept is finding a way to add T-Buildings, and potentially move the existing T-Buildings, while undergoing a large construction project, without hampering the functioning of the school itself.
    Tonight's meeting will allow for additional public comment and questions.  The result of these meetings is expected to be a request at an upcoming School Board meeting for the Board to choose a direction to provide for the educational and facility needs of the 9th Graders, both in the short and long term.