Montrose ends restructuring plan

A proposal to restructure the Montrose Area schools has been pulled off the table by the board following input from the public at an informational meeting and via feedback submitted through the district website.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, Superintendent Chris McComb posted a notice on the district website informing residents of the board’s decision.

The notice stated, in part: “The Montrose Area Board of Directors has decided that this is not a viable option for our district at this time. We will continue to look for ways to improve our educational offerings in a fiscally responsible manner.”

McComb said he did not receive specifics regarding the board’s decision not to move forward with restructuring other than there was “not enough support to move forward at this time.”

He said the district received 78 comments from the public about the proposal.

At the Sept. 9 informational meeting, McComb told the audience that he had been tasked by the board to find a way to eliminate the annual budget deficit that totals about $600,000 each year.

The restructuring plan proposed to create distinct learning centers, utilizing Choconut Valley for students grades kindergarten through 2nd; Lathrop Street for 3rd through 5th grades; and students in grades 6th through 8th combined to form a true middle school in the district.

The proposal, however, fell flat at the meeting with audience members voicing opposition to changes for the elementary schools, and doubting the overall reduction in bus ride times shown by the revamped transportation model.

“As always we will continue to look at a number of cost savings options,” McComb said.

Cost-saving options could potentially include furloughs, or cuts to programs or extra-curricular activities. McComb said those topics “come up every year, and will likely continue to be a topic of discussion.”

The superintendent also said the district will take a different look at transportation and “work to identify logistical and operational improvements that we can consider.”

The next meeting of the Montrose Area School Board is Monday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., in the auditorium of the Jr.-Sr. High School. The meeting begins with a work session and is followed by the regular monthly business meeting.

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