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11:14 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Curriculum Becomes Point of Contention in Consolidation

Supporters and opponents of a three-district consolidation proposal agree kids should have access to a broader curriculum.

The measure would combine the Avon, Abingdon and Bushnell-Prairie City districts into one.

Shannon Price opposes the consolidation. She loves the proposed curriculum for the new district. She says the B-PC district should investigate other options, including use of the Internet to provide those classes.

She said, “I think the word they're using now is a virtual consolidation. You don't physically have to transport the kids from place to place. But can you do things together. Share teachers. Share classes. What can you do that doesn't require this huge increase in transportation funding?”
    
Price also said the Committee of 10 overstated its claim the new district could offer 92 new classes. She said the committee came up with a list of classes at least one of the districts did not offer. She said B-PC offers 28 of the classes on the list.

Jerry Arthur served as the chair for the Committee of 10 which came up with the consolidation proposal. He said a richer curriculum will make college-bound students more competitive.

He said,  “Sometimes students will leave our area and go to a University of Illinois and find that they haven't had the background because they didn't have the upper level courses that some of the kids coming out of, the Chicago suburbs perhaps, have been exposed to.”

Arthur said vocational students would have a wide variety of classes and skills to learn.  He said the greater opportunities offered by the consolidated district might keep more young people in the area after graduation.

He said none of the three districts can afford to offer the classes a consolidated district could offer. He said the individual districts would be forced to cut staff and class offerings to make ends meet as enrollment numbers will continue to fall.

Voters in the three districts will decide the issue March 20th. The consolidation measure must pass in each of the three districts to take effect.