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D-113A discussions about relocating fifth grade classes continue

Published: Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 1:16 p.m. CDT

LEMONT – Discussions about where Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A fifth grade classes should be held are continuing.

The district will hold an open committee meeting at noon on Nov. 4 at River Valley School to discuss whether to keep its fifth grade students at Old Quarry Middle School or move them to River Valley.

The meeting will include district staff and two Board of Education members. It will take place in a small classroom and time will not be allotted for public comment.

Former Superintendent Susan Birkenmaier presented a report weighing the positives and negatives of each option during the D-113A Board of Education meeting Oct. 16.

Birkenmaier said during the meeting that classroom space will be an issue regardless what the district decides.

"No matter which way things go ... that school will be at capacity for use in the classroom space," she said.

The fifth grade classes moved to Old Quarry after Central School was closed in 2011.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Gricus said Old Quarry was the best place for the students at the time because of the space available.

But with expected staff increases, the district needs to re-evaluate whether Old Quarry will still have enough room, she said.

"As we add teachers back as part of the financial plan, we're analyzing what's the optimal use for space," Gricus said.

During the Oct. 16 meeting, Birkenmaier said that River Valley could accomodate the fifth grade classes by using the reading specialist and small group meeting rooms.

Birkenmaier's report said a benefit of the move would be that the fifth grade's self-contained classes are consistent with the classes at River Valley. Relocating the students would also ease traffic at Old Quarry.

But moving the grade may require hiring more specialists and conducting renovations at River Valley, the report said.

The district is looking for a recommendation from the board in the next couple of months.

As far as how the fifth graders are faring at Old Quarry Middle School, Board President Cindy Kelly said the feedback has been positive.

"I've had so many parents and teachers say that they like it there," she said.

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Class size

The fifth grade in Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A is split into nine sections with an average of 32 students per class. The students use nine classrooms at Old Quarry Middle School, as well as four support rooms.

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