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ACGC School Board members meet Monday for the last time at the district elementary school in Cosmos. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

ACGC prepares for next year with one elementary building

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COSMOS -- For the last time, the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board met Monday night in the library at the district's elementary school in Cosmos.

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Known as ACGC South Elementary, the school will close this spring.

In a split vote two months ago, the board agreed to close the school because of declining enrollment and a tight district budget.

This fall all of the district's kindergarten through fourth-grade students will attend classes at ACGC North Elementary in Atwater.

But exactly how many students from the Cosmos community will stick with ACGC is unknown.

Board member Judy Raske, who voted against closing ACGC South, said this week that people are "very angry" that the Cosmos school is closing.

So far there's been no sign of a departure of students.

But Raske said she heard that some Cosmos families intend to leave ACGC before the next school year begins but won't give the district notice until the last minute this fall.

That's making it difficult for the administration to budget teaching staff.

The district currently has the equivalent of 61 full-time instructors.

In order to hedge their bets, the school board has given official notice to 10 teachers that their jobs could be terminated next year if enrollment dips lower than expected. Two of those teachers are tenured instructors who were placed on unrequested leave of absence and eight are probationary teachers.

"We're taking budgetary precautions and making plans accordingly as best we can," said Superintendent Sherri Broderius, adding that this is an "unusual year" because of the wild card factor with enrollment linked to the closure of ACGC South.

"We have to act conservatively, and we're used to that from our SOD (statutory operating debt) days," she said.

If enrollment stays steady, those instructors could be rehired. "We don't know who we have to bring back," said Broderius. "It's really tough this year."

Meanwhile, the district is planning several events this spring that will help the ACGC South students transition to ACGC North.

Also, a Royal Falcon Celebration will be from 2 to 4 p.m. May 12 at the Cosmos school as a way to remember the history of the building, which functioned as a K-12 school before it consolidated with Atwater and Grove City. The Cosmos team had been known as the Royals. The ACGC team is the Falcons. There was some question by the board members about what would be done with the old Royals trophies that are stored in the Cosmos display cases.

The last day of classes at ACGC South is May 24.

In other action Monday, the board voted 6-1 to hire Samantha Broderius as the head high school volleyball coach and voted 4-1 to accept the resignation of Katelyn Ruter as the assistant volleyball coach.

In a letter of resignation, Ruter questioned why she was not hired to the top post, saying her experience, qualifications and time with the team made her the "most appropriate choice."

Broderius is the daughter of the district's superintendent.

Board member Scott Stafford, who cast the only no votes, questioned the process that was used to select the head coach. He also questioned how the decision would look to the public and parents.

Chairman Joel Gratz cautioned the board about discussing issues that could violate data privacy laws. After questioning a member of the hiring committee at the board meeting, Gratz said he "respected" the decision the committee made. "The decision was not taken lightly," he said.

Stafford made a motion to delay decisions on the coaching positions until there was more information, but that motion died for a lack of a second.

Board members who voted in favor of accepting Ruter's resignation and hiring Broderius were Gratz, Raske, Jeanna Lilleberg, Lori Martin, Mike Hendrickson and Megan Morrison.

In other action:

n The board agreed to start the school day at 8 a.m. and end at 3:28 p.m. for all students starting this fall. Also, the time students spend on the bus will not exceed 50 minutes -- a reduction from the current 70-minute routes. That change is due, in part, to taking students to two school buildings rather than three buildings. The route time does not include a five-minute shuttle from the elementary school in Atwater to the middle/high school in Grove City. The 50-minute maximum does, however, include the shuttle from Cosmos to Atwater.

n The board was informed that peeling paint on the gym ceiling at ACGC North Elementary in Awater needs to be removed. The project will cost $57,000 with funds coming from the health and safety levy.

COSMOS -- For the last time, the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board met Monday night in the library at the district's elementary school in Cosmos.

Known as ACGC South Elementary, the school will close this spring.

In a split vote two months ago, the board agreed to close the school because of declining enrollment and a tight district budget.

This fall all of the district's kindergarten through fourth-grade students will attend classes at ACGC North Elementary in Atwater.

But exactly how many students from the Cosmos community will stick with ACGC is unknown.

Board member Judy Raske, who voted against closing ACGC South, said this week that people are "very angry" that the Cosmos school is closing.

So far there's been no sign of a departure of students.

But Raske said she heard that some Cosmos families intend to leave ACGC before the next school year begins but won't give the district notice until the last minute this fall.

That's making it difficult for the administration to budget teaching staff.

The district currently has the equivalent of 61 full-time instructors.

In order to hedge their bets, the school board has given official notice to 10 teachers that their jobs could be terminated next year if enrollment dips lower than expected. Two of those teachers are tenured instructors who were placed on unrequested leave of absence and eight are probationary teachers.

"We're taking budgetary precautions and making plans accordingly as best we can," said Superintendent Sherri Broderius, adding that this is an "unusual year" because of the wild card factor with enrollment linked to the closure of ACGC South.

"We have to act conservatively, and we're used to that from our SOD (statutory operating debt) days," she said.

If enrollment stays steady, those instructors could be rehired. "We don't know who we have to bring back," said Broderius. "It's really tough this year."

Meanwhile, the district is planning several events this spring that will help the ACGC South students transition to ACGC North.

Also, a Royal Falcon Celebration will be from 2 to 4 p.m. May 12 at the Cosmos school as a way to remember the history of the building, which functioned as a K-12 school before it consolidated with Atwater and Grove City. The Cosmos team had been known as the Royals. The ACGC team is the Falcons. There was some question by the board members about what would be done with the old Royals trophies that are stored in the Cosmos display cases.

The last day of classes at ACGC South is May 24.

In other action Monday, the board voted 6-1 to hire Samantha Broderius as the head high school volleyball coach and voted 4-1 to accept the resignation of Katelyn Ruter as the assistant volleyball coach.

In a letter of resignation, Ruter questioned why she was not hired to the top post, saying her experience, qualifications and time with the team made her the "most appropriate choice."

Broderius is the daughter of the district's superintendent.

Board member Scott Stafford, who cast the only no votes, questioned the process that was used to select the head coach. He also questioned how the decision would look to the public and parents.

Chairman Joel Gratz cautioned the board about discussing issues that could violate data privacy laws. After questioning a member of the hiring committee at the board meeting, Gratz said he "respected" the decision the committee made. "The decision was not taken lightly," he said.

Stafford made a motion to delay decisions on the coaching positions until there was more information, but that motion died for a lack of a second.

Board members who voted in favor of accepting Ruter's resignation and hiring Broderius were Gratz, Raske, Jeanna Lilleberg, Lori Martin, Mike Hendrickson and Megan Morrison.

In other action:

- The board agreed to start the school day at 8 a.m. and end at 3:28 p.m. for all students starting this fall. Also, the time students spend on the bus will not exceed 50 minutes -- a reduction from the current 70-minute routes. That change is due, in part, to taking students to two school buildings rather than three buildings. The route time does not include a five-minute shuttle from the elementary school in Atwater to the middle/high school in Grove City. The 50-minute maximum does, however, include the shuttle from Cosmos to Atwater.

- The board was informed that peeling paint on the gym ceiling at ACGC North Elementary in Awater needs to be removed. The project will cost $57,000 with funds coming from the health and safety levy.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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