Garner community hears school sharing plan

    Garner-Hayfield School District residents had their chance last week to respond to discussions between Ventura and G-H School Boards concerning whole grade sharing.
    Following approximately 30 minutes of explanation about how a potential sharing agreement might work, school district patrons spent more than two hours asking questions of their board about subjects ranging from finances to school colors.  In the end, the more than 200 persons in attendance heard board members acknowledge issues and questions remain to be answered, but say they unanimously favor whole grade sharing with Ventura.

    Superintendent Tyler Williams told the large group he believes whole grade sharing will have benefits for both districts.
    “One hundred more students in our high school provides us stability.  No question about it,” said Williams.  “At one time the state was considering requiring high schools to have 300 students.  This year (G-H) has 260.  That legislation would have put this high school in jeopardy.”
    Those in the audience questioned whether a strong majority of Ventura’s 100 high school students would remain with the school district and attend high school in Garner, or whether they would open enroll else where.  That would result in less funding than anticipated.
    “Board members are committed to make this cost effective for both districts,” said G-H School Board President Tim Tusha.  He noted the state does not require that funding follow the specific student; the school boards have the authority to decide the division of those funds through an agreement.
    Under the whole grade sharing plan being discussed, each school district would keep its elementary students; seventh and eighth graders would attend classes in the current Ventura High School building; high school students would attend classes in the Garner-Hayfield High School building.
    “I don’t see it (whole grade sharing) having a positive or negative impact financially,” said Williams.  “I see this as providing more opportunities for kids.”
    Garner school officials say that moving their junior high students to Ventura would solve the problem of an over-crowded school building.
    “Our K-8 facility is saturated.  It’s jam-packed,” said Williams.  “We are teaching in spaces never intended to be classrooms.  Sending kids to Ventura would create some much-needed space.”  Williams noted that G-H’s enrollment seems to have leveled in recent years.  Garner’s elementary building will require renovation, paid for through the one-cent - Read More Via e-Edition

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