CWL, Algona seek sharing agreement

CORWITH – Two of Iowa’s longest whole-grade sharing partners are seeking to arrange a new whole-grade sharing agreement with a neighboring school district.

The Corwith-Wesley and LuVerne Community school districts have been whole-grade sharing since 1984 and are in the beginning stages of starting an agreement with the Algona Community Schools.

“Corwith-Wesley and LuVerne have been together since the 1980’s,” said Tom Fey, shared superintendent of both districts. “They were the first in the state to start a whole-grade share and have the longest running sharing agreement in the state.”

Fey said that due to declining enrollment and both districts’ financial situations, seeking a whole-grade sharing agreement is the best option for the schools.

Presently, the Corwith-Wesley district has 115 students in kindergarten through 12th grades. The LuVerne district has 86.

“We have just over 200 students combined,” said Fey. “If you have under 300 students your districts cannot reorganize. By law that is not an option for us.”

The districts consulted with both Algona and West Hancock schools and formed committees with both school boards. Students from CWL had the opportunity to attend a day of classes at both Algona and West Hancock and were surveyed about their experiences following the visits.

“After surveying our students and staff it revealed that they favored attending Algona should we seek a whole-grade share,” said Fey.

The whole-grade sharing agreement would send students in seventh through 12th grades to Algona. Students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grades would maintain an elementary school at LuVerne.

“We have analyzed both buildings and LuVerne would be best suited for a K-6 school,” said Fey.

The agreement would not go into effect until the 2015-2016 school year, Fey said. CWL may try to share some classes and activities with Algona in the future to help ease the transition.

“We want to make the transition easy for the kids,” said Fey. “We want to negotiate a good sharing agreement, it won’t just go overnight.”