Mary Alice Reporting:

(Monday, December 17th) Dover, Ohio – Change is coming for kindergarten through 5th grades at Dover School after the Board of Education approved a grade leveling plan.

Despite financial eliminating ideas from the Support Dover Excellence Community Group, on Monday, the five board members voted unanimously to reconfigure the elementary buildings brought on by a November levy failure.

Group member Jenna Pilcher asked the board to consider their plan that outlined other options to cut spending.

“Many of which do not have a direct impact on our students. We found that there are other viable alternatives and we have proven that it will actually cost more money to grade level than it will to consolidate within our current school model.”

The school runs on a $35 million budget, and before the vote, Dover Superintendent Carla Birney addressed the audience and a number of positions that the group proposed cutting including the Dean of Students, secretary jobs, as well as negotiating a staff pay freeze and reducing overtime.

Dover Community Group Member Brianna Beal acknowledged that their plan offered to reduce teacher positions within the current grade model.

“We’re disheartened that the board has acted to approve the grade leveling and tear apart our elementary school model. This decision will be detrimental to our district, our students, and our community. We were challenged to bring a better plan. We delivered a plan that projects a saving of twice that of our district’s grade leveling plan.”

School Board President Steve Mastin noted that many items within the group’s spending reduction plan were already considered.

“Board members and administrators weighed all factors of these potential reductions. I believe the best the configuration of the elementary buildings is the best interest of our students.”

Grade leveling will place children in the same grade level in one building rather than having multiple buildings configured to K through 5th grades.

In the upcoming months, the Dover District will provide grade change information and will continue looking at the future budget deficit by considering the placement of another levy on the May 2019 ballot.

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