From the Superintendent's Desk
One question the district has gotten frequently related to both referendums is why do we need to move to one elementary school. The simple answer is one elementary school greatly increases our efficiency as a school district on many fronts and provides us with increased opportunities. The efficiencies and opportunities can be viewed on many different levels from educational impacts, financial impacts, and parental impacts.
The educational impact of having one elementary school located in Durand is tremendous. Having all of our elementary students under one roof allows our staff to take collaboration to the next level. Our staff will be able to meet as a Pre K-5 staff daily to discuss educational trends, shared resources, teaching techniques, and other key educational conversations. Along with the discussion, the staff will also be in a better position to share curriculum resources and the district can avoid purchasing duplicate materials.
With the entire elementary staff being under one roof, the district can also be more efficient in how we provide services. Currently we have special education, administration, reading support, art, music, and physical education staff traveling between the buildings. Having everyone under one roof will allow those staff members to maximize their time with the students and not spend time each day traveling between the buildings. It will also allow for better scheduling of our staff since administration will not have to account for traveling time when creating the schedule.
Another positive educational feature will be the increased opportunity for mentoring between our middle/senior high school students and our older elementary school students with some of our youngest learners. The ability of all of our K-12 students to interact is extremely powerful.
A final positive impact will be the added instructional time gained. Currently our Elementary School students in grades 1-5 spend over 55 hours on the bus shuttling between the buildings. This time lost on the bus could be used in the classroom as instructional time to better meet the needs of our students.
The efficiencies of one elementary building go beyond the educational benefits. The district would also realize financial benefits. The district would be able to save over $180,000 per year by having one elementary school. The savings would come from a reduction in duplicate staff ($60,000), reduction of maintenance and utility costs with one less building to maintain ($70,000), reduction of traveling teacher mileage ($1,250), and a reduction in transportation costs by reducing the shuttling of students ($52,000).
A final area of efficiency realized by having all of our elementary students in one building would be realized by parents. Parents would have one location for pick-up and drop-off of students, one location for concerts, Parent-Teacher Conferences, and Open house just to name a couple.
Overall, having one elementary building would greatly improve the efficiency of the district in many different ways. The increased flexibility and efficiency would help the district continue to provide a great education for many years to come.