Thursday, January 31, 2019
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,
Newbury Schools Are One Step Closer to a Territory Transfer with West Geauga
In a majority vote Monday evening, the members of the Newbury Local Schools Board of Education approved a territory transfer with the West Geauga Schools. This is the next step to beginning the 2020-2021 school year as one school district.
The Newbury Board of Education carefully reviewed teacher/student ratios, course offerings, including AP and electives, student achievement, special education programming and ideology, athletics, clubs, the state of facilities, combined finances, potential tax implications, survey results and community input to help them make an informed decision.
The Board considered both the West Geauga School District and the Berkshire School District and joint meetings were held along with the Geauga County Educational Service Center. This was a difficult decision because both districts have much to offer. The decision to go to West Geauga was made for a number of factors, but the most important consideration was the breadth and quality of student programs, from AP and college prep classes, to clubs and sports that enhance character and build life-long skills. We thank the Berkshire Schools for engaging in discussions with us, and appreciate their transparency along with their commitment to quality education for all families.
What Comes Next
The next step is for the West Geauga Local Schools Board of Education to vote on the proposed territory transfer, which is expected to occur by the end of June. Then, the Geauga County Educational Service Center will consider the resolution to propose the transfer of school territory before July 2019. According to the ESC’s press release: “The Geauga County Educational Service Center Governing Board supports decisions at the local level and will do everything that is possible to ensure that the students of our county are served in the best manner possible. Following possible Newbury Local Board action on January 14, 2019, the Geauga County ESC's Governing Board will discuss next steps regarding any possible territory transfers.”
Newbury and West G Are Working Together for a Smooth Transition
We know that there are some concerns, and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that our students feel welcomed and comfortable as they continue on their educational path. Initial plans and ideas have already been discussed and will be finalized over the next few months. Newbury will work with West Geauga to finalize transition plans to include professional development with staff members and bringing student groups and parent groups together, sooner rather than later.
We recognize that this decision will bring more opportunities for our students and a better value to taxpayers, but it will not be without challenges. It is our sincere hope that we can work together to provide the support and patience our students, teachers, staff, board and families will need to bring two school communities together.
Meanwhile, we want to assure next year at Newbury will be a positive and celebratory year for our students. While we will have a few less staff members to adjust to fewer students, our class sizes will still remain small. Our students will still have all their “specials” including art, music, social emotional learning class and physical education. Music class offerings will still include our awesome choir and band. We are looking forward to more successes with our athletic teams and all our club opportunities will be available to our students next year. We will still offer a wide array of electives at the high school level. In fact, we just added exploratory Spanish and a technology class for our junior high students and will continue those classes next year.
In conclusion, we will be sending monthly updates to keep everyone up to date on decisions, plans and results. As always, please contact us directly with questions or ideas.
Dr. Jacqueline Hoynes