With only one voice in dissent, the Riverdale School District’s Board of Education approved a plan to relocate 7th and 8th grade students to the high school building next year at the Monday’s monthly meeting.
The decision came at the behest of the district’s administration, largely in response to issues created by sharing teachers at the K-8 and 9-12 building buildings.
The move will allow for greater supervision of students, better access to teachers, diminished crowding at lunchtime, and greater scheduling flexibility, according to district administrator Bryce Bird. Bird noted that declining enrollment was responsible for the need to share instructors between the high school and middle school programs.
Matt Franklin did ask the board a number of questions about the plan and expressed some concern that not all seventh graders would be ready for the move to the high school environment.
High school physical education teacher Jeff Johnson spoke in support of the plan. He asked the board to respect and trust the judgment of the professionals they oversaw who had formulated the plan. And fifth grade teacher Dennis Bauman read a letter from one of his students supporting the plan.
Jaime Brownlee provided the sole dissenting vote.
In a unanimous decision, the board approved moving the Riverdale football program to the Ridge and Valley conference.
“This ensures that we will be able to continue to have a football team,” said Bird. “We will be more in line of competition in the Ridge and Valley Conference.”
The move will make Riverdale the fourth largest school in the conference based on enrollment. The Ridge and Valley conference currently hosts two co-op teams with a third under discussion.
In the current conference, there has been difficulty in fielding a team with sufficient numbers, according to Bird, who said that students themselves have concerns about safety, not wanting to risk being played in varsity during their freshman and sophomore years. He believes the change will encourage greater participation in the program.
The board also approved three students for participation in the youth options programs. All three will be taking a college level sociology course for college credit through the University of Wisconsin-Richland.
Youth options participation is only open to juniors and seniors in good standing, i.e. good scholastic and behavioral performance, and must be requesting a course the school does not offer.
In other business, the Riverdale School Board:
• approved hiring Erika Stitzer as an aide;
• approved volunteer wrestling coaches Kyle Menne (middle school), Shane Dilley (m.s.), Brad Kratochwill (high school), Tim Miller (h.s.), and Matt Wolfe (h.s.);
• approved overnight and out of state field trip requests;
• approved class and program fundraising activities that leave the school grounds; and
• appointed Carol Kratochwill as the deputy clerk for elections.
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NOTE: Riverdale has not yet moved, nor is it guaranteed they will move. The Board may have voted to support a move, but the WIAA handles conference realignment, and any changes are officially voted on by their Board of Control. There is no guarantee the Board of Control votes to approve this move, nor that it will be implemented next fall. - Travis Wilson
General Manager/Football Writer, Wisconsin Sports Network