He said adding a year to this rollout as proposed by the administration will allow the board and school to figure out the logistics of successfully implementing the program and allow them to consider the public’s feedback.
“The additional time will provide the administration with an opportunity to review and process all of the feedback and continue to gather input from stakeholders,” an abstract of the board's Thursday meeting agenda reads.
Rani Dasi, chair of the CHCCS board, said when the board makes big decisions, they hold a meeting where the proposal is presented. A second meeting is held where the public has the opportunity to comment, and the proposal is then voted on by the board.
Dasi said the board did not follow this protocol and voted to turn Glenwood Elementary School into a Mandarin magnet school in the Sept. 20 meeting, which was only supposed to be a work session.
“I was very concerned that we did not follow our process for it,” Dasi said.
She also said the September decision sparked a lot of controversy from parents, faculty and community members because of the way it was decided as well as the lack of transparency and how it will affect families of Glenwood.
Hal Skinner, a parent of a fourth grade student at Glenwood, said he is disappointed in the lack of communication between the board and parents and of parent involvement. He said he thinks there needs to be more evidence in support of turning Glenwood into a Mandarin magnet school, especially since it will affect so many students and faculty.
“There’s some questions about the transparency and integrity of the Board of Education and how they’ve handled it,” Skinner said.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, some parents accused members of the board, specifically James Barrett and Pat Heinrich, of not being transparent. Heinrich has a daughter in the Mandarin program at Glenwood Elementary but was cleared for conflict of interest.
Skinner said some parents are concerned about board members sharing information about this issue and not making it accessible for everyone. Dasi said the board should discuss how they operate to ensure this does not happen in the future.
The aspect of the Mandarin magnet program that has sparked the most debate is how 226 students at Glenwood will be reassigned, according to the proposal.
Current first graders and older students can stay at Glenwood and finish their traditional track. Parents of current kindergartners in the traditional track have to decide whether to put their children in the Mandarin program or let them be reassigned.
The proposal will be voted on at the next meeting on Dec. 6.