The Charter Oak-Ute (CO-U) Community School District Board of Directors conducted a public hearing on Monday on the question of whether to enter into a whole grade sharing agreement with the Maple Valley-Anthon Oto (MVAO) School District.

At the October 17 meeting, the board passed a resolution of intent to enter the sharing agreement at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, CO-U Superintendent Rollie Wiebers said.

No formal written or oral objections were presented to the board on Monday, so the district will move forward with the plan, he said.

Implementing whole grade sharing with MVAO will result in the end of the CO-U High School.

Pre-K through eighth grade students will remain in the Charter Oak School District’s elementary and junior high schools.

Financial pressure caused by declining enrollment at the CO-U High School was the main driver behind the push to share with another school district, Wiebers said.

“It’s a sign of the times,” he said.

“It’s a tough decision to make and we’re sad that we have to give up our high school.”

During the 1991-1992 school year, 113 students were enrolled at CO-U High School. By 2006-2007, enrollment had declined to 102.

The school district projected just 78 students would have been enrolled at the high school for the 2017-2018 school year, Wiebers said.

The formal agreement to enter whole grade sharing with Maple Valley-Anton Oto will be signed at the January 18 board meeting.

Ten or 11 instructors will lose their jobs as a result of closing the high school.

“Unfortunately that’s one of the downsides,” Wiebers said.

The teachers to be let go will be notified in January.

“We’ll give them the formal paperwork and then work to help them find employment somewhere else,” he said.

Once the agreement is signed, the school will begin making all the arrangements necessary to enact the agreement next fall.

“Next semester will be a planning semester,” Wiebers said. “We’ll start planning our schedules and transportation needs.”

Not all of the CO-U students may end up attending MVAO, Wiebers said.

“Some families that choose not to attend (MVAO) will be filling out their open enrollment intentions,” he said.

“Some will be going to Denison. Some will be going to Boyer Valley.”

Enrollment decisions will be made by March 1, 2017. Charter Oak students will begin attending MVAO on August 23, 2017, Wiebers said.

“We’re confident in the long run that it will be a good decision for our high school students and a good decision for our district as we go forward because we’ll be able to maintain a good pre-K through eight system for quite a few years,” he said.

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