Archive for Thursday, March 18, 1999

FACILITIES, RATIOS HIGHLIGHT FORUM

March 18, 1999

Advertisement

Candidates shared their opinions at an event organized by South Junior High and Broken Arrow schools.

School board candidates during a forum Wednesday night offered ideas on keeping the student-to-teacher ratio low and how to anticipate future facility needs.

"The first thing I would want is a good 5- to 10-year plan to see what our needs are going to be," said candidate Scott Morgan on the facilities question.

"We need to take a methodical approach."

"We can't change what's been done, but with this new push of collaboration with the city and the county ... we should do a needs study," said candidate Carmela Sibley.

Incumbent Mary Loveland said "we're on the verge of being ready of looking at facility needs" but that a curriculum audit, to be released in May, is needed to determine classroom needs.

"That will tell us the space needs," she said.

Candidate Sue Morgan, no relation to Scott Morgan, said a facilities plan should be presented to the public and be part of a comprehensive plan.

"We need not just a curriculum audit, but a facilities audit," she said.

Candidate Cille King said the curriculum audit is needed to determine space needs.

She added that the community would need at least two years before people would be ready to vote "yes" for another bond issue.

Joe Casad, who spoke on behalf of candidate Jack Davidson, said, "I think what he (Davidson) would say is that if it needs to be fixed, let's get it fixed."

The candidates made the comments at South Junior High School. About 30 people attended the forum, organized by South Junior High and Broken Arrow School parents and teachers.

Candidates offered their views on curtailing the student-to-teacher ratio.

"It's a very expensive item," said Sue Morgan, but added, "It ought to be high on our priority list."

Scott Morgan said student-teacher ratios should be simplified so that parents can understand the figures.

"The way it's done now is by school," not by classroom, he said, adding that parents don't know if the figures include counselors.

Sibley said school districts need to "form a united front when they go before the Legislature."

"I'm sort of a fanatic about class size," Loveland said, explaining she attended a small school with more than 50 children in a class.

"Unfortunately, one of the ways you save money is to add a kid in your ratio."

King said reducing the ratio was a "balancing act," and that the district should find creative ways of helping teachers, such as utilizing Kansas University students and parents in classes.

Candidate Jeff Morrow was not represented at Wednesday night's forum.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.