Frontier kindergarten system draws concerns

NEW MATAMORAS — Parents continue to express concerns about the kindergarten system in Frontier Local Schools.

At a board meeting Monday night, Kylee Haught, after hearing another parent question the size of classes – the kindergartens have more than 20 students in each class – and recommend that a classroom aide would be helpful — said she felt like an independent assessment might be appropriate.

“I don’t think they’ve ever been assessed. They might be just fine, but as a parent I’m not good with just fine. I want them to be the best they can be for my child,” Haught told the board.

The district this year formed two kindergarten classes to accommodate about 50 students. In August, board president Justin Hoff said he was waiting for final registrations to determine whether a third class would be needed.

In the end, two classes were formed, both at Newport Elementary School because of the way the students were distributed in the district. New Matamoras students have to take a long bus ride to school.

Haught, a lifelong resident of Newport with three other children in the Frontier system, said she didn’t question the quality of the teachers but rather the amount of time required simply to keep order in the classroom with so many students.

Superintendent Brian Rentsch said it was a matter district finances, and noted that voters who want to see the district well served in the coming biennial legislative session should look carefully at what candidates are saying about their support for public education.

Hoff said the district is considering an emergency levy for the district’s general fund in the next year or two and was asked how people could support it.

“Both unions (teachers and other staff) have said they’ll help us in whatever way they can,” Hoff said. “Get a group together, figure out how you’ll get information out, using things like social media and town hall meetings.”

The district, Hoff said, attempted to pass a half cent income tax a few years ago but the issue failed at the ballot box.

Rentsch said the district continues to participate in the Cupp Patterson Regional Funding meetings, a group within the Ohio School Boards Association that is drafting recommendations on school funding for the legislature.

In other business, the board:

∫ Received an update from Frontier High and Middle School principal Beth Brown on meetings to consider whether the school’s teams should remain in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.

“There will be a meeting this week of schools that might be interested in creating a new league,” she said.

∫ Approved, with regret, the resignation of Jennifer Wright, the district Spanish teacher. “Mission work in Honduras has always been her passion, and she’s resigning to go back there. We will miss her. She was very involved, the kids loved going into Spanish,” Rentsch said.

∫ Approved hiring a speech therapist through contract service provider eLuma at a rate of $52,716.61 per year.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at Frontier Middle and High School.