Public feels ‘middle college’ plan is moving too fast

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By Sally Zimmerman
Holt Journal staff writer

School district residents spoke out at a March 25 community forum about budgets. The forum was held at Holt Junior High School.

The main topic was the proposal to repurpose the ninth grade campus to a ‘middle college.’ The board plans to implement this change by next school year, which many people in the community feel is moving too fast.

“I think our community is interested in providing the best education for our students,” said Trish Simon, a parent, “but it’s too rushed.”

Simon worries the integration of flexible schedules (classes offered only certain days of the week or at later times) will leave holes in students’ schedules. Without a regular schedule or transportation, some students might be left stranded at school. Simon also worries seniors will exhibit minimal leadership upon being separated from the rest of the high school students.

Other parents at the meeting voiced concerns on the psychological effect the change would have on students, whether college credits will transfer to all colleges, the safety of students crossing a main road to attend classes and the fate of current eleventh grade students as “guinea pigs.”

Mary Lee Hultin is the mother of an eighth grader. She expressed concern that her child has already enrolled in her ninth grade courses. She enjoys the year the ninth grade students have in their own building.

“They haven’t given parents time to consider other options,” Hultin said.

People asked the board to consider the number of students that might leave Holt schools because of the direction they’re headed.

“It’s not well thought out,” said another parent, Julie Kelterborn, “There’s a high risk involved.”

Superintendent Johnny Scott said if the public does not approve this proposal, Plan B involves suspending athletics at the freshman and junior varsity level, reducing staff and cutting electives such as arts, music, foreign language and gym classes.

The board meets again Monday, April 8 to continue discussing the proposed plan.

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