The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) was formed on August 31, 2016, and they have until June 30, 2017, less than one year, to oversee an extremely complicated merger.
The members of the newly unified school board may not have realized what they signed up for when they ran to represent their respective towns. The amount of time that this board has spent together has only ramped up since its inception. They have already held two meetings this month, each of which were approximately four hours long, taking them long into the night, discussing the difficult questions that are behind operating the district’s school system.
Recently they talked at length about two proposed teacher cuts in Fayston and Warren. Many members of the public and the board were offended by the thought of staff reductions because of a, whether perceived or real, promise that was made to them prior to the merger in which no major changes would occur in the first year.
The big promise that seems to be agreed upon is that Act 46 would bring cost effectiveness and better educational opportunities across the district. Cutting teachers was not the only thing on the board’s plate. There was a proposed world language teacher addition that was eventually taken away, leaving Crossett Brook Middle School students with less than their Harwood counterparts. A new science curriculum needs to be implemented in the middle schools in order for them to keep up with the national standards. A host of fund balance, maintenance reserve and other staffing decisions needed to be addressed as well.
Is it right for Fayston to maintain its class sizes under that of the school’s policy when Crossett Brook students are unable to keep up at times because they do not have adequate world language staffing? Should Warren keep three fifth- and sixth- grade teachers when Harwood Union Middle School desperately needs a higher quality science program?
These are the types of questions that the HUUSD Board is tasked with and they are difficult to answer. Some of the questions were answered in their last meeting, but others were not. The Valley Reporter believes that the board has made the right decision to move slowly so long as they have the bigger picture in mind.
These issues will get resolved.