Grade-level elementary schools will be on list
The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Board will be presented with several 2013-2014 budget reduction recommendations from the administration on Thursday. As the Winona Post reported earlier this month, Superintendent Scott Hannon confirmed that one recommendation would be to create grade-level buildings. Grade level buildings group students together according to the grade the children are in, not by neighborhood.
For several months, a WAPS administrative committee has been working on recommendations to decide where $500,000 in budget cuts should be made.
One recommendation that Hannon said could save the most money is to put all students in one grade in a shared location. The move to grade-level buildings, he said, would balance class sizes across the entire grade, and would eliminate extremely small class sizes because students in the same grade would not be split among several buildings.
The change would also save the district money because fewer elementary teachers would be needed.
“If the board doesn’t want to [create grade-level buildings], we’ll just look at other things,” Hannon said. “In [the minds of administrators], this is the one that isn’t really reducing the quality of education that we have now.”
Hannon added that having all teachers that teach the same grade in one location would also create a more collaborative learning atmosphere, and noted that positive improvements have been seen in the past when fifth and sixth graders were moved to middle school locations.
According to recent budget cut projections, the district must also cut $750,000 for 2014-2015, and $450,000 for 2015-2016. Additionally, district leaders have recently discussed the potential for a property tax levy referendum in 2016.
The board will be briefed on the budget cut recommendations during its meeting on Thursday, January 24, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Winona City Hall.
A public forum to allow residents to comment on the proposal is scheduled for January 31.