P-C nixes whole grade sharing with Greene County

The Paton-Churdan board of education made it clear whole grade sharing with Greene County Schools is not in the future at a meeting of the two boards Oct. 3.

The P-C board did not, however, offer a counter to Greene County’s opening proposal for a renewal of the academic and athletic sharing agreements.

The current agreement ends with the current school year. It also calls for a new agreement to be in place by Nov. 1, 2018, for the 2019-20 school year and beyond.

Greene County’s proposal for the next agreement asks P-C to pay 100 percent of the state cost per pupil (per class attended) for the 2019-20 school year, 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.

The proposal asks for one-way academic whole grade sharing for high school students and sharing of all high school sports to begin with the 2020-21 school year, the first year in the new Greene County High School and regional career academy.
The full boards met together in Churdan last week. (Greene Co board members John McConnell and Mike Dennhardt were absent.)

Paton-Churdan board president David Palmer opened the meeting with a letter from his board to the Greene County board.

The letter stated that Paton-Churdan values the relationship with Greene County and that “it works well as it currently functions,” and that P-C is willing to pay its fair share of expenses for what is shared.

P-C is currently paying close to $160,000 per year to Greene County for academic and athletic sharing.

The letter stated “we do not believe our stakeholders are in favor of whole grade sharing in the near future…. If there is no room for negotiations, we feel we would have to look for other alternatives in order to properly represent the students and taxpayers of the Paton-Churdan school district.”

According to the letter, P-C has shown consistent growth in enrollment and open enrollment numbers have grown to the positive. Now, 27 percent of P-C students are open enrolled in to the district. “Small schools provide a different atmosphere than larger schools, which some kids thrive in. We feel choice is good for the county.”
Greene County superintendent Tim Christensen and board president Mark Peters both said they had been expecting a counter-proposal from P-C.

Paton-Churdan superintendent Kreg Lensch answered that his board wants more information about the real cost Greene County incurs under the current agreement before countering the proposal.

Both boards agreed to approve a motion at their October meetings to terminate the current sharing agreement and to extend the deadline for coming to a new agreement beyond Nov. 1. That will allow for the superintendents and the board subcommittees – Steve Fisher, Dennhardt and Sam Harding for Greene County, and Palmer and Mitch Stream for Paton-Churdan – to meet for further negotiations.
The boards plan to have a final agreement ready for approval at their December meetings.

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