The price of education, block scheduling committee holds second public meeting


Sierra Hunter

Committee members and parents discuss the issues concerning block scheduling and how different types of kids will be affected by the change.

Money: what a majority of the public believed was the primary push for a change in scheduling despite Prop R passing, but the block scheduling committee voiced otherwise at their second public meeting on Sept. 21 at MHS.

The block scheduling committee has been evaluating possible schedules to initiate in the 2017-2018 school year. Parents brought up the point that money could be the focus instead of their children’s education. Jason Landherr, MHS assistant principal, assured the community that while price is a thought, a committee to review scheduling meets every 20 years to evaluate the needs of the district’s students.

During the last meeting, the committee’s 23 members unanimously voted to eliminate the traditional schedule (students attending between six and eight classes everyday). This change surprised many parents that came to the open meeting seeing as a traditional schedule is the cheapest option.

“The committee is focusing primarily on what schedule can best serve the greatest number of students, if not every student!” Jason Buatte, OHS assistant principal, said.

Possible options still in discussion include block scheduling (the current model with some possible tweaks), a hybrid model (a mix of traditional and block), a college like option (students can customize their schedule and extracurricular activities), and a completely new model. Currently the block schedule is the most popular option amongst the committee members as it has been said to have higher graduation rates, more students in advanced courses, and lower stress level in students.

The block scheduling committee has been a very open committee. The public has been able to voice their opinion on many occasions, as well as the new Let’s Talk feature on the Mehlville School District Website. The feature allows parents, students, and various community members to submit questions and comments directly to different committees.

“I think the best way for the community to get involved is to attend the open sessions … This gives the community the opportunity to converse with committee members. I would then love to see the community members take that information and spread it throughout the community to inform others,” Buatte said.

The committee will be presenting their final recommendation to the Board of Education on Dec. 15. Until then, the committee will continue to survey students and parents, and send the students on the committee to observe the different types of schedules in schools around the area.

The next information sessions will be during Open House at both OHS and MHS on Oct. 10. The next committee meeting open to the public will be held at OHS on Oct. 12 where the new ideas will be discussed.