When is a school too small?

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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby old#63 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:16 am

Sorry, still not buying your argument that we even need to advocate schools of 30 or 35 kids per class. Dickinson has the same cost per pupil as a school in my area of the state, Minto. Minto has 200 kids in K-12. That's 15 kids per class. Nothing wrong with that size of classes in my mind at all. Grafton is only 9 miles away, but there is no reason to advocate shutting down a school like Minto based on economics. Also, I don't believe for a minute that somehow there are more developmentally disabled kids per capita in large districts than small. That part of your argument makes no sense to me. I advocate consolidation based on when classrooms get so small that the kids don't develop as well socially and intellectually. Myself, I think that begins to occur when class sizes drop below 6 or 8 kids. And even then it depends on the particular kids. I have seen class sizes of 3 have a nice intellectual mix, but I have also seen class sizes of 10 not have. Also when schools get very small, kids have a hard time being able to choose a set of friends that have the same type of values and interests. You end up being forced to be friends with kids who otherwise you wouldn't. Social and intellectual development is my concern, not economics.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby Bisonguy06 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:58 am

Let's throw one more thing into the mix besides money and social skills. The smaller the school, the fewer electives they can offer. At what point is a school too small to offer a well-rounded education?
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby ndlionsfan » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:01 pm

I agree with your last post Old63. That's about how I see school consolidation, too. If you talk about the economics of shutting Minto down because there is a larger school only 9 miles away to save taxpayers money, what about the economic impact on Minto not having those 20-25 jobs and some families move from town and not having the games that bring people to town and spend money. You have to look at economics that way as well.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby ndlionsfan » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:04 pm

Bisonguy06 wrote:Let's throw one more thing into the mix besides money and social skills. The smaller the school, the fewer electives they can offer. At what point is a school too small to offer a well-rounded education?


With ITV and online classes there isn't an elective a kid could not take. Also, with regional Votech centers those type of electives are offered there. All the small schools forming consortiums and JPAs also allows them to share some teachers and services to offer a well rounded educaton.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby scruffy » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:02 pm

old#63, I know where you're coming from and when we look at the whole picture I can"t say I totallly disagree with you. At this time I realize we can't just walk in and put a magic number to it and throw everyone in the same box. Another example why everyone doesn't fit in one box is no child left behind. In many instances it is good but in others it puts districts in a state like ours in a hard spot. If some mandates would go away it would let the "locals" be in a better position to do whats best for the kids. Currently many of those mandates make it a nightmare when it comes to "staffing in the most efficient way. It's getting to the point where an instructer can't even teach in his or her minor field making it neccessary to hire a teach with a "major" in various fields when there are other teachers on staff who could teach those courses. It is starting to make any "minor" degree worthless. It's a very complex problem that the government created. I'd rather see the 'experts" or educators have the right to do what they think is best. As for the students with special needs, larger districts do have a higher number in proportion to smaller ones because the larger cities will have more group homes and such. Those residents often are from the region and not just the one city..
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby old#63 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:51 pm

Scruffy, the only data I could find on special ed kids was about 3 years old, so I will defer to someone who has access to more current data, but here is what DPI says. Special ed enrollment as compared to total enrollment in the three districts we have discussed; Fargo district 12.3%, Dickinson district 14.3%, Minto District 18.6%. The statewide average is 14.3%. Dickinson sits right on the state avereage. You still aren't getting me to agree with you on that point.

NDlionsfan, I'm not a big fan of the ITV system for anything other than specialized high level classes. For ITV or online classes to work, the students have to be very self motivated and independent learners. For most high school kids, other than your top students, who look for very specialized classes, I don't think they are the answer.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby ndlionsfan » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:34 pm

I agree that ITV and online classes aren't for every student, thats why I mentioned the JPAs and Votech centers. Those sources can offer more of the career tech electives that some students want or need.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby scruffy » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:48 pm

ITV and JPA aren't the answer in all cases but ARE two nice tools to use and allow schools to share their talent in different areas.
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Re: When is a school too small?

Postby winner-within » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:06 pm

Hadn't seen this Topic...but after reading through it all I see a debate that truly spells out there are misconceptions, there are people thinking if it ant broke don't fix it... but more importantly its obvious to me there are many schools functioning under, what I would call...substandard.... and I say this with knowing I attended one in the 70's and 80's and it finally closed in 1999.
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