Summer school has concluded at Avoca District 37 for 2011 and possibly forever in its current form.
At Thursday’s District 37 school board members talked openly about furthering consolidating summer school operations with District 39 as early as next year to reduce costs. The two districts already partner on special education and an informal discussion has begun on whether elective courses should all be placed under the umbrella of District 39.
“We are looking at cost savings,” District 37 President Jeffrey Greengoss said. “The summer school program has been losing some money because there is more busing that we had hoped for and some of the students are non-tuition. I made it a priority to see where the numbers came in to see if we could do something better. We already partner with them in special education and it is working out fine and we have saved a considerable amount of money.“
At D37 this past summer, 51 students were enrolled in remedial education and 30 students were involved in elective courses. Those numbers have stayed consistent the last several years. Currently classes are held at D39 facilities, but students are taught by teachers from both districts. This past summer, 12 Avoca teachers were in place.
The D37 board should have an idea by October on much money would be saved if there were a complete merging of operations. However, a final decision regarding the situation may not be made entirely until March 2012.
The issue has yet to be presented at the formal board at D39. But Cindy Devin, director of Pupil Services for D37, and Dr. Denise Thrasher, D39 administrator of student and special services, have been in contact to discuss the situation.
“We are in the beginning of exploration and we feel the positives would be more consistency both on personnel and supervision of programs,” Thrasher said.
As talks proceed, teacher selection and busing students will need to be considered. Another matter is whether parents from one district will feel comfortable with the curriculum of another district. However, since both district use WCSCA standards, the programs tend to be similar.
“We have our own cooperative agreement (WCSCA) Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement,” Devin said. “We work very closely anyway with providing students with support. So this is a natural extension at looking by expanding our partnership in summer school because it may be more cost efficient to operate our summer school programs together rather than independently.”
Stay tuned to Patch for more coverage of Avoca District 37.