Members of the public listen while the Warren County School District Board of Directors discuss reconfiguration options during a June 12, 2023 meeting. Photo by Cody Elms.

School Board Votes to Implement “Hybrid” Option for Sheffield Students

June 12, 2023

RUSSELL, Pa. – The Warren County School District Board of Directors unanimously approved implementing the “hybrid” option which will send Sheffield 9 – 12 students to Warren High for three core classes next year during its regular meeting Monday.

The option was introduced late in the process as a compromise that achieved some of the board’s goals of reducing teacher preps and creating more class offerings while also maintaining community schools.

“I absolutely support this motion,” board member Arthur Stewart said. “For the notion that we gain several things we gain a reduction in teacher preps. We gain an increase in course offerings. And then to top it off, if we implement this motion, it actually saves money for the taxpayer. So I recognize the opposition to this comes in the form of you’re not supporting the community schools, and I have been an advocate for community schools, my entire time on this board. But with this motion, we also preserve the presence of the school in the community. So if you’re looking at those touch points, it meets all those touch points.”

There were two other options on the table Monday night. One would send all Sheffield 9 – 12 students to Warren High full-time. The other would create a K-12 school in Youngsville. The Sheffield 9 – 12 to Warren option did not receive a second to the motion and failed. The K-12 in Youngsville option was tabled so it could be discussed at a future committee meeting.

The board spoke briefly about adding an amendment that would formally make the move a pilot program.

“I want to comment if the board would do this as a pilot program that will trigger policy 9115,” WCSD Solicitor Chris Byham said. “Where it indicates there that a report should be prepared with stated objectives, your costs, etc. And indicates that that report should be on file at the school before the program is initiated.”

After a back-and-forth about whether adopting a formal pilot program would put an undue burden on administration, Superintendent Amy Stewart said the data those reports would contain is likely to be gathered regardless in order for the board to determine whether the option is working as intended.

“If we were to implement something like this, we want to know if it’s working anyway. That’s what we do,” Amy Stewart said. “Either way, the board is going to want feedback. This board, the future board, either way, we’re going to want to know how things are going.”

The “pilot program” amendment was eventually dropped and the board voted on the motion as originally presented, “That the Board of School Directors implements moving Sheffield Area Middle/High School 9-12 grade students to Warren Area High School for three (3) periods of core classes starting in the 2023-2024 school year.”

More to come from Monday’s board meeting throughout the week on Your Daily Local.

*Cody Elms contributed to this report.

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