If plans move ahead smoothly, some struggling Goshen Community Schools kindergartners may benefit next school year via a partnership between Goshen Community Schools and Goshen College.
Kathy Meyer Reimer, chairwoman of the Goshen College Education Department, spoke to Goshen school board members at their meeting Monday about the possibility of a new GCS kindergarten class being located on the Goshen College campus.
The GCS kindergarten class would take the place of the college’s laboratory kindergarten class. The director of the college’s kindergarten class, Barb Stahly, will be retiring at the end of this school year.
Meyer Reimer told school board members the goal of the partnership would be to help struggling GCS kindergarten students who were not meeting benchmarks and who would benefit from a second year of kindergarten.
The college’s laboratory-style kindergarten would benefit struggling students by nature of its “highly experiential” nature, Meyer Reimer said, and its “many kinds of interaction,” such as on-campus concerts and art shows.
The students accepted into the class would not necessarily be ones with Individual Education Plans, but ones who were not performing due to academic, social or developmental reasons.
The class would be limited to 20 to 22 students “to provide for increased interaction and differentiation of curriculum,” according to a program description.
The kindergarten would be a full-day program. Goshen Community Schools would be responsible for supplying the teacher, as well as transportation to and from the school.
Goshen College would supply the space as well as Goshen College education students, who would assist in the kindergarten class as part of the completion of their majors.
Goshen School Board members appeared impressed with Meyer Reimer’s presentation, several saying they thought it was a great idea. They will discuss the decision at length at a following meeting.
In other news, Bruce Stahly, Goshen Community Schools superintendent, met last Thursday with Cheryl Musgrave, commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance.
Musgrave ultimately will give a “yes” or “no” decision on whether GCS will continue with its grades five and six intermediate school building project and renovation of the high school.
Stahly said he met with Musgrave to explain the project to her, and said he indicated things he and other school officials have already stressed — they wouldn’t begin the project until fall enrollment was known; they don’t want to hurt the city or the county with higher taxes, but that ultimately this is a local decision; and that they will take into account a study done by Umbaugh and Associates looking into how the (property tax) circuit breaker will affect schools.
“I think there’s still a lot of confusion (regarding recent changes in property tax legislation),” said Stahly, “so I think attorneys are looking at that and all the different aspects of the law.”
He also said the school is still considering the possibility of a referendum, which would allow the project cost to fall “outside of the circuit breaker.”
The school board also voted to purchase land on Ind. 119 adjacent to the planned intermediate school for $129,000.
Stahly told board members that it wasn’t essential to purchase the land, but, in light of recent concerns about drainage issues, the purchase might be prudent because the area could serve as an additional drainage area for the site.