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
Aledo ISD School Board Place 6 candidates
Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is information gathered from the candidates for the Place 6 Aledo ISD trustee race, incumbent David Davis and challenger Farida Goderya.
Callaway gets A+
Anita Callaway, an English teacher at Daniel Ninth Grade Center, was named “Teacher of the Year” during the 2014 Marva Collins Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony held April 15 in the Aledo High School auditorium.
Man dies in Farmer Road crash
A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. April 15 in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.
Fire victims' fund established
Two streets down and hours after many members of the East Parker County community gathered April 5 to present a new home built with donations to the Hancock family, another family in the West Oak subdivision lost their home to a fire and is now in need of support from the community.
Delay adds $56,000 to Aledo Trail project
The long delay in the Aledo Trail downtown couplet, now due to finish in summer instead of spring, will add about $56,000 to the cost of the project, Parker County commissioners learned last week, when they approved a change order upping the contract to around $3.3 million.
Parker County Sheriff's Report March 31-April 11
Theft of property
A deputy was dispatched to 8600 Interstate 20 East, Aledo, in reference to a theft investigation. The 57-year-old male complainant said an unknown suspect stole $1,000 of copper wire from the Sprint tower on the site. A case was made for the theft of property: aluminum, bronze, copper and brass.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
Bearcats ‘N Boots Gala: dinner, auction and entertainment
• 6:30 p.m. at Cendera Center, 3600 Benbrook Highway, Fort Worth.
• Catered by The Wild Mushroom; entertainment by Four Day Weekend.
• Tickets cost $100.
• Benefitting the Aledo ISD Education Foundation
• Title sponsor Buford-Thompson Company.
• For more information, go to aledoef.org.
EXTENSION NEWS: Take a mind vacation
For many of us, every day has some sort of stress associated with it. Whether it is something at home or at work, it seems like there are a million things stressing us out and making us feel overwhelmed.
VETERANS’ CORNER: Veterans’ needs the target of recent discussions
Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States completed a series of meetings April 8-11 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., discussing the latest research, best practices and various areas of collaboration to address the growing needs of veterans.
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Blooming natives add color to Texas landscapes
Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to email@example.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.
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