Greene Co board suggests whole grade sharing to P-C, again

The Greene County Schools board of education is once again asking the Paton-Churdan board to consider whole grade sharing for grades 9-12.

The coming school year is the final year in the current academic sharing agreement, so students will see no changes when they return to school Aug. 23. But, when subcommittees of the two boards held their semi-annual meeting last month, Greene County made an opening proposal for the next agreement.

The proposal asks that for the 2019-20 school year Paton-Churdan pay 100 percent of the state cost per pupil (per class attended), an increase from 90 percent. The cost for career and technical education classes and upper level math and science courses (advance placement calculus, statistics, physics, and anatomy and physiology) courses would be 125 percent of the state cost per pupil.

One-way whole grade sharing for high school students would begin with the 2020-21 school year, the first year in the new high school/career academy.

“A lot of this discussion is based on the new school building opening in ’20-21. That would be a great opportunity to come together as one,” superintendent Tim Christensen said.

“I think starting ’20-21 with whole grade sharing would make it so much smoother, to have everybody in one spot with one schedule,” board president Mark Peters said.

The Greene County committee also proposed increasing what P-C pays for sharing sports. Greene County is asking Paton-Churdan to pay the cost of an assistant coach for each sport in which P-C athletes participate. If P-C were to share both junior high and high school football, cross-country, wrestling, softball and baseball, and high school golf and soccer, the total cost would be about $40,400, (bases on 2018-19 salaries).

At the meeting were Steve Fisher, Mike Dennhardt and Sam Harding from the Greene County board and David Palmer and Mitch Stream from the Paton-Churdan board, as well as superintendents Tim Christensen and Kreg Lensch.

To terminate the existing contract for academic sharing and negotiate a different agreement, either board needs to take action before Nov. 1. The deadline is Feb. 1 for the athletic sharing agreement. A joint meeting between the full boards is scheduled for November. The Greene County board hopes to hold that meeting before Oct. 17 to hear P-C board members’ thoughts.

The two boards held a joint meeting last March too hear a presentation on the bond proposal for the new school and career academy. It was suggested then that if the referendum were approved, the opening of the new facility would be an ideal time to begin whole grade sharing. Paton-Churdan board members said “no” very quickly.

The P-C board saw the new proposal at its Aug. 13 meeting and asked Lensch to gather pertinent financial information.

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