Declining enrollment and other factors affecting the budget forced administrators with the Adair-Casey to figure out a better way to serve their students while at the same time remaining financially viable. Steve Smith, Superintendent for the Adair-Casey School District, says what’s really best for students, is having opportunities in the classroom, as well as extra-curricular activities.
Last week, the Adair-Casey Board held meetings with Iowa Association of School Boards Director of Financial Services, Gary Sinclair. As part of continued discussions intended for the public, they’ve also met with patrons of the district and others, to discuss the district’s current financial and operational positions. Smith says they’ve tried to communicate as much and often as possible with the public, through local newspapers, their webpage, and the position of Board Agenda minutes, to attain reaction from the public.
A community meeting was held one-year ago. The most recent meeting came last Wednesday, during a regularly scheduled School Board session. Smith said the bottom line, is that a continued decline in enrollment will make it difficult for the District to provide the types of things needed for their students. He says the question patrons have, is what kind of an education can they provide if they don’t do something now to prepare for a decline in income from decreased enrollment?
Smith said Adair-Casey School Board President Megan Kading and the rest of the Board have been working to come up with solutions. He says there was a motion that passed last week which stated the district will operate in the same capacity while they explore Whole Grade Sharing opportunities with previously districts, to determine a mutually beneficial partner.
He says they will continue to be looking at aligning themselves with a partner district, but that doesn’t mean it will happen within three-to-five years. The decision last Wednesday, he says, allows them time to plan, without letting time get away from them and being forced to make a rash decision.
Geographically, there are only so many options as far as school districts they can consider as far as Whole Grade Sharing is concerned. The Board met separately, over the summer, with members of the CAM, West Central Valley, Nodaway Valley and Guthrie Center. He says “We walked away from there feeling like three of those four, we would like to dig deeper and find out more information about those districts.” The next step he says, is to look at who might be the most “suitable partner” for the district.
That would enable the district to determine what academic and extra-curricular activities they can offer to students and allow those students to be successful once they graduate.