Preschool will be relocated -- but not this year

Zoe Greszler • Apr 21, 2017 at 9:00 AM

COLLINS — Western Reserve parents will not be taking their little ones to a preschool on the main campus this fall.

And Western Reserve sixth graders will not be relocated either — not during the 2017-2018 school year at least.

The board of education held a second and final town hall meeting Wednesday night. Parents and community members were encouraged to share their views and concerns about a plan to move preschoolers from their current Wakeman building onto main campus and relocating the sixth-grade students from the elementary school to the middle/high school building.

Superintendent Rodge Wilson began the discussion by asking if any of those opposed to the plan would be willing to share their opinions. When none stepped forward, Wilson said it was the his, some of the community’s and the board’s wish to bring the preschool to the main campus.

“We believe that is the best thing for our students,” he said. “The questions now is where do we put it.”

One woman voiced concerns of whether the project was a “financial decision.”

“I think we made it very clear finances are not driving this discussion,” Treasurer Brett Robson said. “Finances are not driving these relocations in any way.”

“Keeping five stars is driving this discussion and our Step Up to Quality requirements,” Wilson said. “Step Up to Quality is becoming very burdensome without our support staff and administration right there (with the preschool located off campus).”

Others voiced concern about the preschoolers causing disruptions to other grade levels, should they be moved into the current elementary building.

While there are a few possibilities within the elementary building, including a North Point room and Title 1 room in the primary wing, taking any kindergarten rooms to create the preschool was a bad option, according to the school board.

“That is our least favorite option right now,” said board president Jamie White. “We created those kindergarten rooms specifically for our kindergartners and we want to keep them there. Like Rodge (Wilson) said, we’re hoping to grow our kindergarten anyway.”

After a 46-minute discussion, the board presented its proposal the community, families and teachers who attended.

“There is not a space that would be ready for the preschoolers for this coming school year so (I) will compose a team to find the very best place to move (the preschoolers),” Wilson said, adding from the discussion he gathered the board and community all favored a remodel of the board office.

“We’ll look at all of the possible options over the next year.”

This will include having an architect come to the school and give an estimate on the viable options that the superintendent’s team establishes.

Wilson also will be assembling a group to gather data and research to assist in the placement of the sixth grade class.

“I have heard data in favor of the middle school having their own building,” he said. “I want to get data before we do anything and decide what the best option is for our students. We’ll look into that over the next year. For the upcoming ‘17-’18 school year, they will stay where they are,” he said.

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