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Cornish Combines Elementary Grades

Cornish — The School Board voted this month to reconfigure the Cornish Elementary School class grades — combining grades one and two, as well as three and four — following the departure of a teacher to another school district.

The board had previously voted to combine grades two, three and four into one class to be taught by two teachers who have experience in co-teaching multi-age classrooms, but one of the two teachers subsequently took a job in the Plainfield School District, prompting the board to take another look at the plans.

Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin said the recommendation to combine grades one and two, to be taught by one teacher, and grades three and four, to be taught by another teacher, came from Principal Sylvia Sivret and was supported by McGoodwin.

Currently, the classroom for grades 1-2 is projected to have 22 students next year, and grades 3-4 is projected to have 24.

The need to reconfigure classrooms came after voters last year cut the school budget, requiring the reduction of one teacher, as the school faces continuously declining enrollment. McGoodwin said that reduction was made by not filling the position of a teacher who retired.

The latest opening will not be filled, he said.

“The person who left opened up a teaching slot. ... We certainly could have hired an additional person, but with declining enrollment, it’s inevitable that we’re going to be decreasing staff further,” McGoodwin said. “Let us make adjustments now and let us develop and further develop programs now for this year as well as the future, versus bring another staff member on” and have to make reductions again down the line.

McGoodwin said the next School Board meeting is currently slated for Aug. 4.