Big Bear, CA, February 11, 2013 – At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Bear Valley Unified School District on February 6th, Superintendent Kurt Madden made the recommendation for approval of the Board to implement changes at Chautauqua High School. Madden tells Kbear that the fiscal impact of the restructuring will generate a savings of $108,000 in the school budget. The changes presented to the Board would reduce the number of students at Chautauqua by enrolling all entering 9th graders for the upcoming 2013-14 school year in Big Bear High School. The restructuring would allow for current 9th, 10th and 11th grade students to continue their education at the Chautauqua campus. The restructuring includes the elimination of the Principal position, held by Steve Schour, while creating a Lead Teacher position, the reduction of one Certificated Teaching position and the scaling back of Classified Staffing with less students at the campus. After hearing the recommendation, in the discussion phase, every Board member spoke acknowledging the great program at Chautauqua High School but also acknowledging the District-wide needs by comparison. The Board voted 5-0 in favor of the recommendation with the changes effective July 1st. According to Madden, the position of Lead Teacher has been offered to Mr. Schour but at this time, he hasn’t accepted or declined the offer. Chautauqua’s current student base consists of approximately 70 students comprised of both what is described as “non-traditional students” and students in a program designed as an alternative to expulsion. The nature of the needs of the students at Chautauqua has prompted mixed feelings from students and parents involved with the school whether past or present. Most notably, Wendy Craig, who is a parent and has been an employee of the District. In emails and social media postings, Craig has expressed her sentiments for keeping Chautauqua High School in tact. She describes herself as a “school groupie” having supported the school district over the last 8 years. Craig indicated in an email after Wednesday night’s meeting that she has learned a great deal in this process and she encourages community members to get involved in the decisions being made on behalf of our students.
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