Five out of six parents of Mead High School sophomores voted this week to keep the class of 1998 together when the district opens a new high school in the fall of 1997.
As a result, Mead High School will hold half of the district’s freshmen, sophomores and juniors and all of the seniors in the 1997-98 school year. The new school, still unnamed, will hold the other half of the 9th, 10th and 11th grades.
In the 1998-99 school year, all four grades will be split between the two schools.
“This was really an emotional decision,” said Cheryl Stutzman, mother of sophomore Eric Stutzman. “Playing sports together, (participating in) extra-curricular activities, making friends for three years, then having to split up and be competitive didn’t sit really well with them.”
Ballots were sent home last week with instruction that students and parents should make a decision together. Although only 38 percent - 234 out of 611 - of the class voted, 85 percent of the ballots were in favor of keeping the class together.
“I think a lot of people who didn’t vote were so confident of the outcome that they didn’t bother to put in their ballots,” said Mead High School principal Steve Hogue.
Which ever way the vote went, the district was prepared financially. But a definite decision on the class of 1998 sets off a domino row of decisions for school district administration.
A primary concern is staffing. Teachers with senior-level classes who were expecting to go to the new high school will have to be held at Mead High School for a year.
Other, more difficult decisions will have to be made for sports and after-school programs. The district, with input from parents and the teachers’ union, will have to decide what programs the new school can offer in 1997-98 without any of the district’s 600 seniors.
Some coaches and after-school advisors will likely have to be bused from one school to another, Hogue said.
“The decision brings into some conflict those extracurricular programs that teachers might teach,” said Hogue.
The school is faced with other sports-related decisions. Administrators still are unsure whether the two new schools will compete in the smaller, AA classification or as a AAA school, like the 1,800-student Mead High School.
“This gives us a year and a half to talk about it,” said Hogue.
Other large issues are still pending. A citizens committee is meeting Thursday to discus attendance boundaries. Hogue said an open enrollment policy between the two schools is still a possibility.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: COMMITTEE MEETING The next Mead boundary committee meeting is at 7 p.m. today in the library at Northwood Junior High School, 13120 N. Pittsburg.