Board of education announces changes
Last Wednesday, the Carbon County Board of Education voted to move principal Jess Banning from Creek-view Elementary to Castle Heights.
Castle Heights principal Dennis Hansen is retiring. Hansen, who has served in positions at East Carbon High School, and 13 years at Reeves Elementary, indicated he is excited to pursue other opportunities.
"With the dynamic changes happening in education and 33 years in education I feel it's time," commented Hansen on Monday.
Banning, who has served as principal at Creekview for seven years, taught at Castle Heights for three years. He was also at Petersen Elementary School for eight years. No replacement for Banning has been named.
In other changes last month, the school board moved Chuck Kreautler into the principal position at Mont Harmon. Kreautler was a principal at Westridge and became a counselor following the middle school's closure. Kreautler will replace Jan Avery Cox, who is splitting her time between the Lighthouse and adult basic education program in East Carbon.
In an unrelated matter at the March 10 board of education meeting, Brent Martindale appeared with questions surrounding the kindergarten program offered through Carbon School District.
Carbon County offers a full day of kindergarten. But some parents still opt for a half day.
In Utah, it is not mandatory to send children to kindergarten.
According to Superintendent David Armstrong, children who are successful in later grades get their beginnings through kindergarten programs
Kindergarten is no longer a program just to familiarize children into the socialization of the school setting and developing interactive skills, pointed out Armstrong. Rather, kindergarten is the program that lays the groundwork for a successful school career.
Kindergarten children are taught the most frequently used 100 words and "there are large learning gaps seen in children who have not had successful kindergarten experiences. They never seem to catch up," explained Armstrong.
At the meeting, it was also announced that there will be a $32 increase per child from the state. Carbon School District will now receive $2,182 from the state per child, which Armstrong indicated does not cover the cost of textbooks.
Gov. Olene Walker requested from the Utah Legislature a reading initiative proposal. She had wanted $30 per child for the program, however she was only given $15. The state expects local school boards to raise the difference through bonds and taxes.
Armstrong hopes the leeway that was voted on last February will cover the difference necessary to run the program in the district.
"We won't know this until September when school begins," said Armstrong, explaining that money cannot be taken from other reading programs. "The Legislature is putting the boards in awkward positions across the state forcing us to raise taxes."
Enrollment from August 2003 to December 2004 dropped by 240 students in the Carbon School District. The numbers will be reviewed April 1.
But with the decline in students and the fact that the district loses more than $2,100 from the state for per child, the district is operating on about $516,000 less than it would have had enrollment remained consistent. The lower enrollment numbers have meant the loss of seven teachers, three secondary and four from the elementary areas.
Fewer children in the lower grades means less enrollment in the junior and senior high schools, which translates into less instructors and cutting more programs, said Armstrong.