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Parents Speak Out about Cutting Reading Program at School Board Meeting

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Larissa Schimmeleske Speaks Out About Reading Program
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Sioux City School Superintendent Paul Gausman

Nearly a dozen parents at Monday night’s Sioux City School Board meeting spoke out against a plan to get rid of stand-alone reading classes at middle schools.  A West Middle School teacher brought a petition with 560 signatures of opponents.

Roxanne Hutchinson has students in middle school.  She said reading scores at Sioux City schools have improved because teachers with reading endorsements were teaching. The new teachers won’t have that special training. 

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“And they’ll be an English teacher but they may not have a reading endorsement.  I think that’s a poor substitute for a reading class taught by an endorsed reading teacher.”

Larissa Schimmeleske (SHIMELL-eskee) has children in the Talented and Gifted Programs at Bryant Elementary and North Middle school.  She is concerned about TAG reading programs being cut.  She read a statement from a seventh grade boy in the TAG reading program.:11

“Reading is the only advanced class that we have.  Reading is in every aspect of life.  I would ask you to please reconsider your plan to take away my reading course.

Superintendent Paul Gausman said there were no plans to remove reading from the curriculum or the TAG program, but there are economic realities that need to be addressed.

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“For the past seven years the cost of the business of doing school has grown by 3-4 percent each year. During that same time, our revenue has grown less than two percent each year on average.”

The board deferred any action on the reading program to a later date. It did approve a one-time early retirement plan for up to 45 teachers. 

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