NEW PHILADELPHIA Dover, Oh

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Dover, Ohio (WJER) - Dover school officials have met with community members to hear concerns surrounding the district’s plan to reorganize the elementary schools into a grade leveling system.

During a community meeting called by the Support Dover Excellence, parents voiced concerns to board members and administration about things like special education, bus routes, parent-teacher groups and associated costs connected to a grade leveling system. 

Reading from a prepared statement, Support Dover Excellence organizer Jenna Pilcher says they hope the board will reconsider the effects of reorganization.

“These neighborhood schools where children spend six years creating bonds with friends, siblings and staff give our kids the firm foundation they need to become successful as they grow. We are asking the board of education to hear our concerns, stop the plans for grade leveling and take a serious look at financial alternatives that have the least impact on the students,” she says.

Pilcher says she hopes they can work with the board to show them some alternative cuts that they believe could eliminate the need to reorganize.

Board president Steve Mastin says he feels people raised legitimate concerns that they will now take under consideration. 

“The plan is we’re going to talk about it in open session in December, and we’re going to consider it individually with a lot of one-on-one conversations back and forth,” he says. “In January, we’re going to render a decision. I can’t even begin to tell you what the board’s going to decide to do because we’ve not had the first conversation about their plan.”

Superintendent Carla Birney says she trusts the board to make the right decision for the district and its students.

“We are always looking to meet the needs of our students, meet the needs of our families, but we also have to look at the financial constraints,” she says. “Information shared here tonight will be things that we will continue to keep on the front burner, ponder, as we make some of the bigger decisions so that we don’t miss the details.”  

The district has to make up for a more than $3 million dollar deficit after failing to pass the operating levy in November.

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