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H.C. Storm parent starts petition against proposed changes

Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, June 15, 2013 9:49 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – H.C. Storm Elementary School parent Ellen Knautz has started a petition urging that Batavia School District 101 reconsider changes proposed for H.C. Storm Elementary School, including using the art and music rooms as regular classroom space.

As of Friday afternoon, 96 people have signed the petition at www.thepetitionsite.com.

“I think that parents want to make sure that this is the only solution that will work,” said Knautz, who has a child who will be in third grade at the school. “I believe that parents have valuable input to provide.”

She is concerned the school’s art and music program will suffer because it will lose its specialized classrooms starting this fall. Knautz noted that the other elementary schools in the district will have dedicated rooms for art and music.

H.C. Storm Principal Timothy McDermott recently told parents that increased enrollment has led to space constraints, and the art and music rooms will be used as regular classroom space.

“The art and music teachers at H.C. Storm cannot teach as effectively in student classrooms compared to rooms customized for their subject,” Knautz stated in her petition. Knautz said any learning materials that are used will have to be portable.

McDermott also told parents of a summer construction project that will involve enclosing the B and D pods. He said the newly configured spaces will be used by staff to provide interventions and enrichment for students.

As part of her petition, Knautz asked for the district to reconsider that plan.

“Adding rooms for intervention at the expense of the children whose teachers use this space every day to supplement the classroom experience can’t possibly be the ideal solution for H.C. Storm,” the petition stated.

McDermott could not be reached for comment. He will host several meetings with parents during the summer to discuss programming, space and staffing. The first one will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Knautz said she plans to attend the meeting.

“I am going to it with an open mind and a list of questions,” she said.

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