(Hamburg) -- Hamburg's School District will once again make its case for restoring high school classes next week.
School officials will appear before the State Education Board at its meeting next Thursday afternoon at 1:30 at the Grimes State Office Building to request certification for high school classes under a career academy format. Hamburg School Superintendent Dr. Mike Wells outlined his district's upcoming presentation with KMA News.
"Our argument is based on equal protection of students," said Wells. "Being a rural small school shouldn't prevent you from having a high school. We really feel it's a local decision, and the local board should have the authority to reinstate. So, that will be our presentation."
Wells says Hamburg is in better position to gain certification than last March, when the board rejected the district's first request. In addition to having more than a million dollars in unspent balance, Wells says the potential high school has certified staff available--thanks to assistance from Essex.
"We had no certified high school staff at that time on contract," he said. "They were concerned we wouldn't be able to find certified people--that was a good argument from their point. There are some positions that are very difficult to find. But with the help of Essex, we really have available every subject area certified. And, we have some of our own staff certified as well. The state has also lightened up the requirements for on-line learning--which would be another option available to us. Then, we have a written letter from Iowa Western (Community College), saying they would partner with us on a career academy."
And unlike last March, Wells says his district isn't dealing with a flooding disaster.
"In our community, we were in the middle of a flood last year when we presented," said Wells. "Floodwaters are no longer in our community, and we've taken steps to correct flooding in our town, with the new levee works. We feel we're definitely in a better position than we were a year ago.
"We know our chances of getting a high school are slim. But, it is a direction our community would like to see us go, and our board would like to see us do," he added.
The superintendent is also confident Hamburg has the enrollment numbers to justify returning high school classes.
"Hamburg will never be a large high school," said Wells. "At its maximum, it will be 60-to-65 students. We know from those surveys we would have students in every grade. That would be one of the things that would keep you from having a high school. Because Iowa has an offer and teacher requirement--we have to offer classes in each grade level, and we have to have students in them. So because we'll have students in every grade. We feel confident we could meet those requirements. But, it would be a very small high school to start, if they approve it."
A fall survey taken of the district's parents indicated 96.4% would support returning high school classes, while 96.3% indicated they would have their children attend high school at Hamburg.