The Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) has started its planning for the 2012-2013 school year, with a number of efforts to reduce costs and enhance opportunies for students.
On January 5, the Merrill School Board set the tentative budget framework for the next school year, which means the district's administrative team is now working through a transition process to ready schools for upcoming changes.
"As a school district, we are facing some major transformations next school year, and we are committed to making the transition process as seamless as possible," said Bruce Anderson, Superintendent. "We have already laid the groundwork for preparing our students, parents and staff for some of the big moves that we are making between buildings and with new programs."
Among some of the most noteworthy changes for 2012-2013 will be Pine River Elementary School's transition to become the Head Start Early Childhood 4K Center, the establishment of the Bridges Virtual Academy and the new Maple Grove Charter School. In addition, the insurance bidding process for the district is scheduled to be complete by the end of March.
In preparation for these changes, MAPS administration has established seven committees and four subcommittees to manage a variety of tasks in the coming months. Six of the committees are scheduled to complete their primary work by the middle of March, with the rest finishing up in May or in the summer months. The committees are as follows:
• The Student Assignments/Attendance Areas will set tentative attendance areas based on enrollment at Kate Goodrich, Washington and Jefferson schools. It will also have three subcommittees for Bridges to Learn, Special Education and Transportation.
• The Staffing/Layoffs Committee will determine the impact of closing Pine River and relocating staff at Maple Grove.
• The Furniture/Equipment Committee will be responsible for creating a plan for moving or discarding equipment at the Pine River facility. It will also have a Moving subcommittee.
• The Technology/Library Committee will lay out a plan for utilizing current technology equipment and Instructional Media at Pine River and Maple Grove.
• The PTO Consolidation Committee will be made up of Parent-Teacher Organization members who will determine the impact of moving of students between schools.
• The Student Transition Opportunities Committee will establish opportunities for students to successfully transition to the school they will attend next year.
• The Communication Committee will explain the transition process to staff and parents at staff and PTO meetings.
"This is going to be a long-term, ongoing process that will result in our schools being as effective and efficient as they can be," Anderson said.