ASHTON — The AFC School Board approved the annual budget for FY 14 following a public hearing to address questions and concerns from the public. Superintendent John Zick reported on the financial report of the district.
There are concerns regarding declining enrollment within in the district. The average decline from year to year is about three percent. This past year, the district saw a decrease of about six percent. The combined enrollment of Ashton and Franklin Center districts at the time of the detachment/annexation was 780 students. This year the district has a total enrollment of 522 students.
Zick presented a variety of scenarios regarding how financial issues could affect the district over the next few years and suggestions on how to deal with them.
Addressing the recent headlines regarding concerns about Common Core practices, the Zick reported that Common Core is not a new thing. The schools have been working toward it for some time. The Common Core calls for the schools to be held accountable for the progress of the students. He feels that it has allowed teachers to be more focused and have more concise goals. Contrary to what is being said, common core does not take away a teachers ability to be creative.
It is noted that students learn in a variety of ways and two teachers may be teaching the same curriculum at the same time, but using a different technique to teach it. Another advantage to Common Core is that all schools are teaching the same principals at each grade level, eliminating the issue of students who move from one district to another missing out on certain subjects.
Principal Trina Dillon reiterated that all kids learn in different ways. “Common core gives us the ability to maximize each students learning potential to the best of their ability,” said Dillon.
Common Core has seen teachers across AFC district interacting with teachers from other districts to collaborate and create curriculum ideas.
In other business, the board approved the hiring of coaching staff and teachers aids.