A joint statement by four area school district traces the development of a possible regional high school, and reveals the issues now under study for such a project.
The concept of a regional high school in the area was first introduced during discussions between Pomeroy-Palmer and Pocahontas Area in the fall of 2005. In the spring of 2006, Pocahontas Area, Newell-Fonda and Laurens-Marathon discussed the potential project.
The concept involves a commonly shared high school with each district maintaining its separate identity grades K-8.
The three boards each expressed interest in furthering discussions. Three additional districts' superintends were invited to meet and continue discussion the educational benefits of a regional high school. From the six individual districts, five boards of education and their respective superintendents decided to research potential consultants to assist the districts in evaluating the feasibility of the a regional high school.
In August, representatives from Laurens-Marathon, Newell-Fonda, Pocahontas Area and Pomeroy-Palmer districts met to identify key issues regarding the feasibility of a regional school.
Albert City-Truesdale was unable to attend. This information was included in the request for proposals that was sent to three potential consulting firms.
In September, Pomeroy-Palmer dropped out of the discussions of a regional high school. The district reported that they couldn't wait the length of time it would take to complete a regional high school and would need to decide what to do with its high school within a year.
Recently, Albert City-Trusedale Laurens-Marathon, Newell-Fonda and Pocahontas Area each approved a base bid from Ghan Consulting to serve as a consultant, except Newell-Fonda. The firm submitted the only proposal.
Following are the issues to be addressed by the consultant:
* How will the quality of education be impacted by a regional high school?
* What would be several potential locations for the regional high school?
* What is a reasonable time frame to achieve a regional high school?
* How can each district obtain buy-in and commitment by each district and it's constituency?
* How will a regional high school affect the coordination of management positions such as transportation?
* What would be an appropriate size for a regional high school and what grades should be included?
* Will a regional high school require a new building?
* How many students do we need to make this idea viable? (Lasting more then 20 years and economically feasible.)
* Will a regional high school require a redistrict or can it take some other form?
* What will be the advantages for student achievement?
* How will a regional high school affect athletics and extra curricular opportunities?
* How will a regional high school impact curriculum?
* What do the patrons thing about a regional high school?
* How will a regional high school impact tax rates and funding?
* What legal issues need to be considered and how might they be addressed?
* How will a new facility be financed after it is developed?
* How will staffing be impacted?
* How would a regional high school be governed?
* How will transportation be affected by a regional high school?
* Can these districts sustain regional high school and their individual identity?
* Are there an state incentives or financing options?
* What does the K-8 structure look like? Can the district sustain a K-8?
* Are we missing any other hurdles or obstacles to a regional high school?
The report is expected to be completed in December with reports made to the boards of education in February.