Parents Speak Out About Maple School Dist. Cuts, 2nd-Grade Changes
MAPLE, Wis. — Concerned parents spoke up Monday about cuts for the Maple School District next school year as it faces a nearly $600,000 deficit.
The school board held a special meeting Monday evening about the cuts after approving them Feb. 13.
There are more than a half-dozen teacher positions being eliminated. And while the parents FOX 21 spoke to Monday said they understand the district has to make changes because of budget constraints, they don’t understand why the second-grade class Iron River Elementary School will be moved to Northwestern Elementary School.
Parents said bus times will be longer and the disruption could be even more damaging for the district financially involving student recruitment.
“These are seven-year-olds, and they’re going to be on the bus in a lot of cases, over an hour each end. We’re hearing from a number of the parents in Iron River Elementary they’re considering open enrolling out of the district because this is going to be hard on their kids doing this transport, and that’s going to cause the district to lose state aides and make their budget problems worse,” said Steve Probst, a parent who is running for school board.
Meanwhile, a mother of two at Iron River Elementary believes her kids will now go from one-hour bus rides to two hours. She also said there’s no way she’s going to be able to handle extracurricular activities with her kids in separate schools — not to mention being pulled from their friends in the close-knit school.
“They are extremely distraught. My son cried for literal hours and is still upset if it’s brought about. He does not want to move, he does not want to leave his friends. My daughter is upset that she’ll be losing her brother,” said Courtney Mashlan.
“I have one that would stay in Iron River. She is current in kindergarten, so she would be in first. And then my second grader being moved over there. School gets out at the same exact time. Schools are half-an-hour apart. I have my daughter in dance, so how am I supposed to get her to dance when I still need to go the opposite way to pick up my other son and be on dance on time. There’s no way any parent who can do that,” Mashlan said.
Supt. Sara Cronley told FOX 21 last week that the cuts are in the best interest of students, staff and the district to help avoid an operational referendum.
As for second-grade changes, Supt. Cronley provided some context:
“There is one class of nine (9) second graders at Iron River Elementary that will go to Northwestern Elementary. They will join other second graders to have a class of 22 or some classes will be 23 students. The second grade teacher from IRES will go too to be their teacher. All students can stay together if the parents choose to want their children to stay with their classmates. It is the parents’ choice.”
The parents at the special meeting Monday, including Probts and Mashlan, want the school board to put the second-grade-class change on a future public agenda.