At its October 16 regular meeting, the Greenbush-Middle River School Board approved by a 4-3 vote to move the fourth grade class to Greenbush, with several board members citing the change in class demographics as a reason. Board members Shane Kilen (Chairperson), Carrie Jo Howard, Kurt Stenberg, and Brandon Kuznia voted in favor of this motion, and board members Joe Melby, Laurie Stromsodt, and Jeff Nelson voted against it.
To allow for a natural break before this change, the district won’t move this class until the winter break. This change comes after the board approved back on March 27, 2017 to move the fourth grade class to Middle River, as part of its effort to cut into, at that time, a $400,000 plus deficit, by combining and moving some classes and cutting staff.
In April 2017, this fourth grade class (third grade at the time) had nine students attending school at the Greenbush site and 14 at the Middle River site, for a total of 23 students. Now, the district has just 15 students total in this class, all attending the Middle River site based on that board action in March 2017. This total includes all nine students who attended the Greenbush site and five who attended the Middle River site last school term, and one new student.
According to reports Jerome received last month, 11 GMR fourth graders ride the bus from Greenbush to Middle River, along with a third grader, first grader, and seven head start students.
Originally, the board made a motion at this meeting to keep the class in Middle River. This motion failed by a 3-4 vote. Board member Stromsodt, Melby, and Nelson voted for it, and board members Kilen, Howard, Stenberg, and Kuznia voted against it. Board member Stromsodt cited maintaining the public’s trust as a reason behind her vote, saying the board doesn’t have that trust.
To see the complete board report, including a more comprehensive look at how the board arrived at its decision, read an upcoming issue of The Tribune in print or online.