Task Force to Brainstorm Fate of Adams Central Elementary Schools

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By Taylor Barth

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Updated: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:26:21 CST

When it comes to improving elementary schools, it's been a long road for the Adams Central School District. After voters shot down two bond issues in May 2010 and November 2011 the school board was at a loss, unable to provide the necessary needs and upgrades.

The district once had five elementary schools, but after the bond issues failed that number shrank to three.

"We eliminated some teachers, eliminated some staff [and] we streamed lines the best we could, but we still have the inequities," School Board President Craig Bengtson said. "We don't have a place for the kids to have lunch, we don't have music rooms, we don't have this we don't have that but we want to see what we can do."

That's why the board has created a task force of 60 diverse people in the community. The school district hired a facilitator who guides the task force through meetings, provides research and keeps conversations objective.

The school board and task force members are touring all three elementary schools in the district, Juniata, East and Wallace, to identify the strengths and weaknesses when it comes to giving kids a quality education.

Jody Granstrom teaches at Wallace Elementary and her three children attend school in the district.

"Our kids are our number one need, and what the issue is right now is that with our elementary buildings they each have great qualities, but they each have some major things that need to be worked on," Granstrom said.

Facilitator Don Fritz said he's encouraging the task force members to think long-term.

"I tell them every day that we're only here for one reason, and that is the students both now and future and we're asking this task force to look down the road, not just next week but 25 years," Fritz said.

Task force members aren't sure what their final suggestions will entail, but they said their goal is to provide the best education for kids. The task force hopes to finish up their meetings and discussions before the November elections.