By JUDY SHERIDAN
Hoping to buy planning time in the face of projected growth, Aledo ISD trustees Monday voted 5-1 to move the district’s fifth graders — and their teachers — from the district’s four elementary campuses to McAnally Intermediate School, beginning this fall.
McAnally, which once held both fifth and sixth graders, is now occupied just by sixth graders.
Voting in favor of the change were Jay Stringer, Johnny Campbell, Steve Bartley, David Tillman and Hoyt Harris.
Bobby Rigues voted against the change, saying one or two of the four science specialists should continue to serve the elementary campuses instead of moving with the fifth graders; David Davis was absent.
Chris Taylor, a parent with children at Stuard Elementary, suggested during the public comment section that a science specialist rotate among the elementary schools.
“If we move all four science specialists now you have four speciaists essentially moving for one grade, and I don’t know that that is the best use of the specialists we have when we leave out the kindergarten through fourth grade students,” he said.
Superintendent Derek Citty, who called the move “a short-term fix driven by capacity,” said it was the best answer for enrollment/capacity projections, assembled with the help of Templeton Demographics.
Those projections show Stuard Elementary at 93 percent of its maximum capacity — using every available space for instruction — this school year — two elementary schools in the same situation next school year and three elementary schools hitting the mark in 2016-17.
In contrast, enrollment/capacity projections that incorporate the fifth grade move to McAnally show McAnally as the first campus to reach 93 percent of maximum capacity in 2016-17, joined by two elementary schools in 2017-18 and a third in 2018-19.
“Staying in the current situation will have us redrawing attendance zones, which is an unpleasant process and not an efficient strategy,” Citty said, “or using portable buildings.”
Citty said some parents who attended the two recent community meetings about the reconfiguration worried that their children might not be ready to go from class to class or ride the same bus as high schoolers.
Others were concerned about the traffic flow in front of McAnally or losing the science specialists that currently serve grades K-5.
Responding to the concerns, Citty told the board that administrators found no research to support that the proposed change would harm students.
Few high schoolers ride the buses, he said, and fifth and sixth graders will be seated in the front.
The superintendent acknowledged the traffic problem at McAnally during dismissal and said VLK Architects was looking at ways to establish a better traffic flow pattern.
Science specialists have co-taught with classroom teachers in the elementary grades for two years, he told the board.
“They know it, and there’s no need to design new curriculum or labs,” he said. “Fifth grade is an important testing year for those kids.”
“Why not leave back one or two versus taking all four?” Rigues asked.
“Moving the science specialists helps us with class sizes,” Citty responded, adding that some of the teacher/student ratios exceeded 26:1.
“For the sake of one grade, we’re jeopardizing something that’s working,” Rigues said. “I’m not satisfied with the answers I’ve been given.”
Citty told the board that this year was the first school year in Aledo’s history where the kindergarten class is larger than the senior class.
“When attendance flips from secondary to elementary, it’s a prime indicator that growth is coming,” he said.
“We want facilities in place when the wave hits the beach. We’ve vetted this as much as any project, and we’re very confident we can pull this off.”
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Suspicious house fire under investigation
The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.
Parker County Attorney John Forrest will ask county commissioners for additional funds as county budget discussions begin this year; he hopes to hire another attorney to help with an increase in Child Protective Services cases.
Firefighter arrested on child sex assault charges
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested Monday, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Developer withdraws site plan
ANNETTA —A controversial 34-home subdivision proposed for a 41-acre tract on Duncan Road will not go forward as planned, according to action taken by both the proposed developer and the Annetta Town Council after a public hearing Thursday night.
Aledo City Council to meet July 24
The Aledo City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Aledo Community Center, 104 Robinson Court, Aledo.
Fires damage business, home
Two separate fires around 2 p.m. July 15 damaged a Willow Park business and destroyed the home of a Weatherford family.
Letter to the Editor
Thursday night, July 17, I was present for a surprisingly interesting experience when State Representative candidate Matthew Britt addressed a small group of supporters, followed by a question and answer session.
ESD 1, Annetta South close on fire station site
Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 and Annetta South officials said Tuesday that the ESD is homing in on a site for a new fire station to serve residents in the Annettas and surrounding areas. Annetta South is expected to consider a zoning change to accommodate a new station next month.
Registration has begun for Aledo ISD
Aledo ISD enrollment for the 2014-15 school year began yesterday, July 21, and students new to the district need to register before school begins, Monday, Aug. 25.
County scrambling to fill elections post
Former Parker County Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Watkins, who sought, but was not appointed to the post of Parker County Elections Administrator after Robert Parten retired, last week began work as assistant elections administrator for Palo Pinto County, Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator Judith Evans has confirmed.
- More Aledo ExtrA Headlines
- Suspicious house fire under investigation