Members of the Adair-Casey Board of Education were the guests Monday evening at the CAM High School in Anita, during a joint meeting of the A-C and CAM School Boards. The cordial discussion lasted for about 50 minutes after introductions were made, but nothing was decided on at this stage of exploration. A-C/Guthrie Center shared Superintendent Steve Smith thanked the CAM Board for sitting down to talk with them about the direction A-C might take in determining the next course of action.
Members of the Adair-Casey School Board (far left) holds talks with CAM Board members (near side).
He said “We obviously looking for things that maybe could help us, and hopefully help other district or districts.” Smith said A-C “Took a hit last year in some enrollment [numbers], so if that happens again. obviously we may have different thoughts about what we may or may not do. So right now, to be a little proactive, we’re trying to reach out to all that districts that are contiguous so that we can see who is able to offer the best fit on the needs.
Adair-Casey has already held talks with West Central Valley, Nodaway Valley and now CAM. They have yet to sit down with the Guthrie Center School Board, but intend to do so in the near future. A-C Board President Megan Kading said they decided to explore their options because last year their district lost between 30-and 40-students, for a number of reasons, including the fact some families with three or more children who moved from the area, and less students came in after the graduating class.
CAM had a certified enrollment last year of 441 students. Adair-Casey had 328. CAM School Board President Gary Dinkla said he understands the process of change districts such as A-C are looking to explore.
One of the questions A-C Board member Mark Williams had for the CAM Board essentially boiled down to “How did they know when the process of sharing services needed to start,” and what are the challenges associated with going down the road toward possible consolidation? Gary Dinkla said “Probably the best time to start is when the communities are ready to accept it, or when you can convince communities it’s a process to go towards.”
The Cumberland-Massena and Anita School Districts had Whole Grade Sharing for eight-years before they consolidated into CAM. Megan Kading asked if declining enrollment was a financial factor in consolidation. Dinkla said it was “To better utilize the resources,” both districts had. CAM Board Member Todd McKee said the time to hold these types of discussions and make the tough decisions “Is not black and white…you never know,” but it’s important to start talking and make changes before it’s too late.
McKee said he was still trying to catch his breathe after going through the process of trying to find a Superintendent the district could share after former CAM Superintendent Steve Pelzer announced his retirement. CAM opted to share the services of Nodaway Valley Superintendent Casey Berlau. McKee said he personally, didn’t want to open the door to another change too soon, but CAM Board Member Chuck Kinzie said “Sometimes the situation is the boss,” and districts have to be open and proactive in serving the needs of their students.
He said “If the time is right for further discussions…we need further discussions…if it’s right.”