Ralls County R-II School District looking to combine elementary - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Ralls County R-II School District looking to combine elementary schools

A Northeast Missouri school district wants to consolidate its two elementary schools into one location.  Before that can happen, the Ralls County R-II district will need voter approval to build a new school.

Ralls County R-II hopes to get a $7.5 million, no tax increase bond issue passed in the April 8th election to help fund a new elementary school.  School officials say it would not only benefit kids and teachers, but it can also save the district money.

As Dawn Snodgrass picks up her six-year-old son from New London Elementary, she said combining the districts two elementary schools into one building would be beneficial for children and teachers.

"I'm actually thrilled about the idea mainly because despite the school itself getting bigger a lot of our classes are going to get smaller. We have a couple classes in each building right now that have about 30.  And some up to 31 at one point which as a former teacher is really unacceptable in my opinion," Snodgrass said. 

The new school would be built near the high school.  Mark Twain superintendent Deanette Jarman said Center, Missouri is the best location.

"We have land available there and it is in the middle of our county and our school district.  So the bussing becomes pretty similar for everyone so we don't have to take people clear across the county on a bus," Jarman said. 

Jarman said the district has looked at this option since last year.  One reason is because of growing class sizes at New London Elementary.  Not only is it putting a burden on teachers, but federal funding requires both Center and New London keep similar student to teacher ratios, which is something Jarman said they haven't been able to meet. 

"Because there's an exception based on your free and reduced lunch rate.  So we've made it with the exception for the last two years in a row and if those numbers vary, we are at risk of losing $140,000 and we would lose that money immediately," she said. 

Snodgrass said having every kid go to the same elementary school would also give parents peace of mind that their student is getting the same education.

"It would make it fair across the board. We all know where the building is, all of our kids get to go there.  There's no I wish my kid was in this building or I wish mine was in this building. It'll just work together," Snodgrass said.

The bond issue could still be a tough sell in New London where some voters don't like the idea of seeing their school close.  Jarman said if the bond issue passes, the district would bid out the project in 2015 and hope to open the new elementary school in the fall of 2016. 
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