Board 'strongly suggests' relocating preschool

Zoe Greszler • Mar 17, 2017 at 6:38 PM

​​COLLINS — The Western Reserve board of education members shared their thoughts on the relocation of preschoolers and sixth-graders at Wednesday’s regular meeting, a discussion that is ongoing for the district after a community forum raised several concerns. 

“My opinion is the preschool does need to come here,” said board member Curt Linder. “I don’t know what logistics should be. I don’t know if the board office, since it’s completely separated, if it could be renovated to meet the needs, but I think it’s worth looking into. I don’t think kindergartners should be moved. That was built for them. Something needs built or renovated for the preschoolers. 

“As far as the sixth grade, (either way) doesn’t bother me,” Linder said. “It’s going to be rough on the first year class moving because of establishing their pecking order, but I think you could do something to help them out — give them a couple special little gigs of their own, just that class, to help them move in.”

“I agree with Curt,” said board member Dr. Scott Ommert. “I agree the preschool need moved. Even if we don’t use the board offices, maybe we can look at using the kindergarten rooms that are not being used or look at another part of the school being renovated.”

“We know we don’t want them moved out of that hall,” board president Jami White added about the kindergartners. “We also looked at the board offices as a board. We heard the the community say they really liked the shed and the little fenced in play area. I don’t know what it would take, but we could fence that in and put in a shed and play area there.

“I’m looking more at security aspects of it, where we know the security is good here,” she added.

“The second option I think is we should do this in steps. Maybe move the preschool this year then look at sixth grade maybe in another year.

Board member Kris Green agreed preschoolers needed to be on the main Western Reserve campus, and that they needed their own section, not to take over the kindergarten rooms like was briefly mentioned at the previous community forum.

“As far as sixth grade goes, I could take it or leave it,” he said. “I see benefits to both sides. Listening to the community at the meeting, the majority wanted to stay where it’s at. If we did move, I’d say we have to find a way to keep them more segregated big kids from little kids.”

Linder and White slightly disagreed.

“I don’t see a big concern,” Linder said. “There’re in the halls with the big kids (for four minutes). We have to get them used to older children and moving in the right direction sometime.”

“When did we lose that big kids can be good role models?” White asked. “We keep saying they could be a bad influence, but they could be a good influence as well and we could encourage that to happen.”

Superintendent Rodge Wilson asked the board how it would like him to proceed.

“The piece I keep hearing is parents want to keep things the way they are,” he said. “Here’s what my decision as it is sitting right now. What I heard there is we don’t want to move the preschool — it was very loud. I want it moved. But my decision would be to keep it because I’m not passionate about it and I’m also here to serve.

“What I hear from the board is you strongly suggest the preschool be moved,” he said. “Is that how you want me to present it to the community at our next town hall meeting when we get all of the parents here together again?”

The board agreed it did.

“The way I see it if you don’t move now, you never will,” Ommert said.

Sixth-grade relocation, however, will take more time and diligence before a conclusion is reached.

“For sixth grade, I heard we’re afraid of moving from the parents,” Wilson said. “So what I propose we do, what I want to do is look at why are grades banded sixth to eighth? Is there a benefit? We’re going to do some research on this and maybe we’ll go visit some places and then we’ll see. We want to be sure.”

The community is invited to attend the next board meeting on April 19 to share their opinions of the relocations. Wilson said all thoughts, ideas and concerns are welcome be it in person at the meeting or in a call to himself or a board member.


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