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Clarksville debate paints social divide

He said the Clarksville children shouldn't perpetually be in a multi-age class their whole career or "looped" through a school.

"Can my child continually loop through an elementary school and find that satisfactory? I cannot find anybody who agrees with that," he said. "If the board would say for example, 'We'll cap it at a year and no kid will be looped through multiple times,' now we're starting to talk about faith, now we're starting to talk about trust."

Gordinier said there was now a "trust issue" with the district administrators. "There's a systemic issue here of trust," he said.

Tebbano held a meeting for concerned Clarksville parents earlier in June, during which parents questioned his enrollment projections.

"What I said at the June 5 meeting is that I don't have confidence that these projections are going to be accurate in the future," he said at the June 17 meeting. "Some of you wanted to pin me and guarantee there will be no multi-age in the future." He said he "couldn't in good conscience" give that guarantee but he was willing to create a small committee with parents to try to solve the enrollment problem at Clarksville.

"I'm willing to work with you if you're willing to work with me," Tebbano said. "If you're willing to be a part of this we can dig right in in the next couple of weeks and persist in trying to come up with some kind of plan for the bigger issue."

When discussion came back to the actual quality of multi-age classrooms, some board members disagreed with Gordinier's assessment.

"I'm against paying a full amount of taxes and not having a full education," he told the board. "Please let my children go to another school then, let me have that option or give me a voucher to go to another school, if I'm the problem please take me out of the scenario."

Board member Matt Downing said he has had no problems with a multi-age education.

"I would just like to say both of my children went through multi-age," he said. "Both of them turned out fine it's really the teacher that makes the difference."

Prior to the June 17 meeting, Teachers Bonnie O'Shea, Beth Kourt, Heather Bush and Laurel Jones told The Spotlight they put just as much effort in their multi-age classes as the their straight grade ones.

"Instruction is no different," Jones said. "Multi-age class is your class, it's your group."

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