WLC middle school reorganization on the way

WILTON – Changes are planned for the cooperative middle school, but they do not include staff reductions at this time. No final decisions were made by the school board on Jan. 8, and the proposal has not been discussed by the Budget Committee.

The board voted to adopt some changes.

Chairman Harry Dailey said the Budget Committee was aware of the proposed changes.

Reducing staff by two teachers in the middle school was recommended by the Strategic Planning Committee because of decreased enrollment and small class sizes. Under that plan, some classes would be reduced from three sections to two, resulting in classes of up to 22 students where they now have from 14 to 18 students. Some math and science classes would be taught by high school teachers.

The main change adopted would allow eighth graders to earn high school credits in unified arts, electives including art and music.

The advantage of that, Dailey said, is allowing more flexibility for high school students who want to take advanced courses or attend technology and trade courses in other schools.

Several people in attendance spoke against the staff reductions saying the middle school “needs help not cut backs.”

Dailey said the Budget Committee could still recommend the cuts, but the costs could be “put back in at district meeting,” set for March 9.

In other business, the board met with the Budget Committee. The current “working figure” is $12,289,864. The School Board is requesting a higher figure and the two boards will meet to discuss figures.

The public budget hearing will be on Feb. 7, and it is hoped an agreement will be reached by then.

At the next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 22, the board will discuss a weapons policy, as suggested by the state Department of Education. Both Wilton and Lyndeborough police chiefs will be invited to attend.

It was voted to make the Negotiations Committee a standing committee. Members Matt Ballou, Jonathan Vanderhoof and Alex LoVerma were named.