Pocahontas students to switch buildings

POCAHONTAS – Many elementary school-age children in the Pocahontas Area Community School District will be going to class in a different building this fall because of a reorganization plan that will reduce the district’s payroll without laying off any teachers.

All students in prekindergarten through second grade will go to Pocahontas Elementary School.

All students in third through sixth grades will go to Pomeroy Elementary School.

Both communities will have a preschool for 4-year-olds.

School district Superintendent Joseph Kramer said Monday that the change will result in all students who completed second through fifth grades at Pocahontas Elementary School during the last academic year moving to Pomeroy Elementary School for the 2013-2014 year.

He added that all students who completed first grade at Pomeroy Elementary School last year will go to Pocahontas Elementary School this fall.

He added that during the 2014-2015 academic year, all elementary students will be moved to the Pomeroy building so that the Pocahontas school can be renovated. Exactly what will be done at that building hasn’t been determined yet.

Kramer and Aaron Davidson, who is the principal of both elementary schools, explained the reorganization during a public meeting late Monday morning at the Pocahontas school. About 20 people attended.

Kramer said the plan enables the district to take advantage of a surprising number of retirements and resignations to reduce its faculty without laying anyone off. He said eight teachers and four support staff workers have left the district.

The district has about 425 elementary students.

During the past academic year, the Pocahontas Elementary School housed prekindergarten through sixth grade students. Kramer said the prekindergarten is for 5-year-olds whose parents don’t feel they are ready for a full kindergarten program. The preschool in Pocahontas is at a different site.

The Pomeroy Elementary School housed kindergarten through sixth grade, plus a preschool for 4-year-olds.

Kramer said the district has had three sections, or classrooms, of each grade. Under the reorganization plan it will have two sections of each grade. He said he had originally planned to move toward two sections of each grade, but the recent departures enabled him to design a plan to do that sooner without laying anybody off.

During Monday’s meeting, most of the questions from the public were about school buses and how long the children may have to be on a bus on their way to and from school.

”None of us want students on a bus any longer than necessary,” Kramer said.

He said schedules haven’t been finalized, but added that it appears that buses leaving Pocahontas for Pomeroy will depart at about 7:45 a.m. He added that children who have go from one community to the other will leave school a bit earlier in the afternoon.

School registration for the Pocahontas district will be held Aug. 8-9 in the senior high school. Classes will begin on Aug. 19.