Dear Readers: Blount Today to close
Any chance you can ditch the bricks & morter and the paper edition and go pure electronic? Blount Today closing would be a true loss to the communnity!
The school board has made a short sighted, close minded decision that is going to INCREASE overall costs & has the potential to introduce a lot of new problems and they made it clear that they don't want input or help from their constituants. If the board refuses to listen to ideas from the public & businesses then the entire system is in danger. I would suggest that they implement term limits for the school board but since they don't listen to public input it wouldn't do any good.
With all of the bickering between the Ft.Craig fans and haters about the pros and cons of closing Ft.Craig there has been little discussion about the grade shuffling changes that are going to affect every child in every school from now on. With the new grade configurations, 9th grade is pulled out of the highschool and is in with 8th grade and 4-7th grades are together. Maryville City Schools (all of them) are some of the top in the state and making such changes to a system with such a strong track record should be a concern to every parent.
One potential solution that I believe the school board looked at early on but ruled out because it has its share of trade-offs deserves a closer review. Move Sam Houston (staff & students) to Coulter's Grove and use the Sam Houston school as an extension of Maryville High. The proximity of Sam Houston to the high school is ideal and could provide a roadmap of expansion to connect the campuses in decades to come. The distance between Sam Houston and Coulter's Grove is less than 3miles so that is the maximum additional distance that the Sam Houston children would have to travel on the bus. The Sam Houston students & staff would get to stay together and get a beautiful new facility. All of the disruptive grade reconfigurations are avoided - although there still would be a small logistical issue to overcome since Sam Houston isn't connected to the high school. From an economics standpoint it looks good. Without closing Ft.Craig it's going to cost an additional $1,800,000 per year to open Coulter's Grove. The vast majority of this due to hiring of additional staff. By closing Ft. Craig, the additional amount needed drops to $800,000 per year and introduces the grade configuration changes. If Sam Houston is moved, the amount needed drops to almost zero because no additional staff is needed and the grade re-configurations/shuffling/disruptions are avoided. Even if I'm $300,000 wrong on the cost savings per year (but I don't see it), it would still be $500K/Yr less that the taxpayers have to cover, would avoid the disruption to the entire school system and the eliminate the risk being introduced to entire Maryville School System's academic program.
Looking at the presentations that were given, it looks to me like the big savings from 'closing' Ft.Craig are really achieved by moving the staff to Coulter instead of hiring a completely new staff. If this is the case then it seems it would be even more efficient to close one of the bigger elementary schools and move it's staff. From the presentation it looks like Sam Houston has a large staff and is in need of more repairs than Ft.Craig. Or if there was room, move both to the new school. This would give you the best utilization of the new facility and potentially minimize all of the grade shuffling.
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