Mexico Public Schools Want to Shift Classrooms Types

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MEXICO - The Mexico Public Schools want to make over their elementary school system. The schools currently house grades preschool through 5th grade. The primary reason for this change is to save money on a tight budget.

The idea is to change the three current schools into grade centers:
Hawthorn Elementary School -- Pre-k to 1st grade;
Eugene Field Elementary School -- 2nd to 4th grade;
Mcmillan Elementary School -- 5th grade.

School officials said they need to hire more faculty and said restructuring will help them save. Some of the benefits layed out in the Grade Center Proposal include allowing for teacher specialists in content areas, balanced classes and ensuring all Mexico children receive the same, consistent education.

"Right now we have four teaching positions open that we haven't hired. And if we're gonna make this move to grade centers, we wouldn't hire three of those, and that saves the district $122,000," Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Kevin Freeman said.

Bobbie Joe Azdell says the restructuring will be a huge inconvenience to her because she has 3 children, all who would have to attend different grade centers.

"I'm not thrilled about it at all, it's too much," Azdell said.

Freeman says the school board understands the drawback.

"There's always issues with change, people will adjust," Freeman said.

Freeman also said the possible change may help sharing the best teachers in Mexico.

"If you have a teacher that is a good math teacher in one elementary building, they only get to teach kids in that one elementary. So if we put all the second graders in one building, that good second grade math teacher has the opportunity to impact the entire population of children that we have," Freeman said.

But some parents worried that it would make getting their children to school a problem.

Bobby Kennemre has one granddaughter in kindergarten and two others in third grade.

"It would be inconvenient for me," he said.

Freeman said the delivery problem could be a drawback of the proposal, but he hoped it wouldn't be a big trouble.

"Mexico is a small town. Is it going to add to their day? Yes. Is it gonna add significantly? Hopefully not," Freeman said.

The board will address the possible changes at its meeting next Tuesday, April 19th.