New K-12 reading program approved on 7-2 split vote

    It wasn’t unanimous, but the CCS board of education voted to purchase a new reading program for the 2020-21 year.
    The American Reading Company (ARC) program, with a base cost of $239,260, was approved 7-2 at a special meeting Monday night.
    The program was the subject of three hours of discussion at the board’s June 9 regular meeting, when the board opted to delay the decision until this week for further study and input.
    Voting for the program purchase were Willy O’Neil, Carrie Terryberry, Dan Reeves, Karl Meeske, Steve Wallin, Josh Fries and Sheila Stromberger.
    Voting no were board president Jeff Olsen and Cindy Arterburn.
    Newly hired CCS curriculum coordinator April Lambert recapped the discussion at the June 9 meeting.
    Since then, she’s met for several hours with the K-1 teaching staff, who preferred another reading program.
    Lambert said she reviewed ARC’s phonics component, which is a concern of the five K-1 teachers.
    “Everything is there, but maybe in a different order than what they are used to,” she said.
    She encouraged the K-1 teachers to let her know of continued concerns or if they had questions as the program is added to the curriculum.
    Lambert also met with the school board’s curriculum/technology committee since June 9 to review why she recommended the ARC program.
    “I am further convinced this is the one,” she said.
    While she voted in favor of ARC, Stromberger said the cost was still a concern. She added that there were many other pros and cons, too.
    “I’ll be honest. I’ve spent more time researching, thinking, contemplating, worrying over this decision than I think I have any other in 20 some years,” she said.
    She is on the curriculum/technology committee, which Stromberger said, as a group, had not come together on a consensus either.
    But in the end, she said the students are what matter.
    “We have to remember we are here for the kids and what’s best of the kids,” she said.

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