I would like to report important details regarding Julia Randall Elementary that were not included in Max Foster's two articles. First, I do acknowledge the school board believes the issue is to be handled "on site."
Although I respect their decision and accept it, I can also respectfully say I disagree. With that being said, the reason I am writing this letter is to clarify important facts, not to change a decision that is finalized.
1. We were not asking for a "new" fourth grade teacher. JRE had 19.5 academic teachers last year. This year, JRE has 17. It was our understanding that the override election was to maintain current staffing.
2. The principal on site during the 2003/2004 school year, Ardyth Potter, set up the 2004/2005 classes. Mrs. Miles was appointed by Mr. Weissenfels and did not arrive on the campus until two weeks before school started.
3. Mr. Weissenfels and the school board believe that teachers could have been reassigned to different classes. By reassigning the classes in either second or fifth grade, would result in classes with 24 students or more. Resulting in only three or four students different than the existing fourth grade class sizes this year. Another suggestion was to move quite a few students and have a fourth and fifth grade combination class, which was not prepared for. In my research, test scores have not been proven in combination classes and definitely do not take place without a lot of planning. Thus, neither of these suggestions would benefit students.
4. The teaching experts and teachers have acknowledged that this subject is resolved for this year. Any movement after the first semester may have a negative effect on the academic progress of the students.
5. The Title One aide was already on staff at JRE. An additional aide was not hired.
Now is the time to speak up. It has already been suggested to eliminate 10 to 12 more teachers next year. The problem of the Rim Country Middle School evaporative coolers being changed to air conditioning appears to be the districts first priority. Speak up and tell the school board what you want.
Our children are important to this community. I want the quantity and quality of teachers thought of first during the budget process. What do you want?
Linda D Jackson, Payson