Parents offer views on district school changes

The issue of elementary school realignment continues to draw interest and some anxiety. Local parents packed the room at a regular meeting of the Marietta City Schools board of education Monday night, with about 50 people in attendance, most of them concerned about the proposal to change elementary school education in the district.

It was the first regular meeting for three newly elected board members – Doug Mallett, who was elected president of the board at an organizational meeting earlier this month, Mark Duckworth and Stacey Hall joined bill Hutchinson and Russ Garrison, who was elected vice president. The meeting began at 6:30 p.m., a change from the usual meeting time instituted at the urging of Mallett, who said changing it from the traditional late afternoon time would encourage more people to show up.

The change will continue through the rest of the year’s meetings and be reviewed at the end of the year, Mallett said.

The board, as Mallett had indicated last week, postponed discussion on the elementary realignment until the February meeting.

Maria Berner, a parent of two children at Putnam Elementary, said after the meeting she was concerned about the realignment plan because it would see children changing schools every two years.

“The number of transitions (from one school to another) that students make can have a detrimental effect on them,” she said. “It’s reassuring that this has gone to February.”

Berner said she holds a masters degree in childhood education and has done research on the impact of parts of the plan the district is proposing.

“Teachers need to use data to drive their decisions, and this board needs to use data to drive its decisions,” she said.

During the new business portion of the meeting, Mallett laid out a series of goals that included creating an advisory committee on athletics that would include the athletic director, the principal of Marietta High School and a few members of the community. He put forward a motion to authorize formation of the committee, but Garrison said he would prefer to see a more detailed motion in writing and moved to postpone it until February, noting that nothing would prevent contacting the people Mallett had mentioned to get their input about the committee’s functions and goals.

After some discussion on procedure, the motion to postpone carried 3-2.

The board will meet again Tuesday at noon for an orientation session on finance led by district CFO Frank Antill. That orientation is open to the public.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the board office, 111 Academy Drive.

At a glance

≤ Marietta City Schools board of education

≤ First meeting with newly elected board members, held Monday night

≤ Board now consists of: Doug Mallet, president; Russ Garrison, vice president; Stacey Hall, Mark Duckworth and Bill Hutchinson

≤ Regular meetings will now be held at 6:30 p.m.