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Morrison Wants To Stop Merger Of Creative Arts Magnets

Heath Morrison

CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison wants to halt plans to merge two creative arts magnet schools.  Students at University Park and First Ward elementaries have been in limbo the past two years.  In 2010, the school board voted to close University Park along with ten other schools to save money and, then, merge it with First Ward. 

But University Park never actually merged with First Ward because it required a whole lot of planning.  Combining the schools would only work if students were on a multi-track year-round calendar.  That means students would rotate through classes and vacation at different times of the year. 

That didn’t make much sense to Jane Webster who has a third grader at First Ward. 

“If you could’ve told me why it was a good thing and, then, if it could’ve been organized and thought out enough and it was going to work, I would’ve been the first one in line making it work.  But I just couldn’t figure out why it was better for these schools,” says Webster. 

Earlier this month, Morrison asked the district to look into this and make sure the move would actually save the district money.  Tyler Ream, a zone superintendent over these schools, said it’s hard to justify merging them.  

“The cost savings could have been minimal verses some of the projections that suggest there could be some rather significant recurring costs associated with this model,” says Ream.   

He says one of the biggest challenges would be accommodating the transportation needs of the students. 

Morrison will formally ask the school board to reverse the decision at Tuesday’s meeting. 

The school board is hitting the road for that meeting.  Instead of meeting in the evening at the government center, the board will meet at Mallard Creek High School at 1:00pm.