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Middle-school Spanish gets green light in Kaneland

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:28 p.m. CDT

SUGAR GROVE – Spanish will be offered at the middle school level starting this fall in Kaneland School District 302.

The school board unanimously approved the addition Monday night at its meeting at Kaneland Harter Middle School. Spanish 1 will be added in a two-year sequence, and it will be offered to seventh- and eighth-graders starting in the fall at Harter.

It is the first time Kaneland will have offered a permanent Spanish option at the middle school level. Before 2009, it was offered as an exploratory class, meaning students were able to take a nine-week session officials described as “very introductory.” The introduction of Spanish 1 in the middle school would allow students the ability to take a fifth year of Spanish as high school seniors.

Board member Tony Valente praised the offering, saying, “it’s exciting to me to see this type of program at the junior high level.” He added that he would like to see it start even earlier, at the elementary level.

Also, the board approved the creation of a full-time administrator position that will be split between overseeing the early childhood program and serving as the assistant principal at Blackberry Creek Elementary School in Elburn.

As part of the move, the entire early childhood program will be housed at Blackberry Creek. Currently, there are three programs at Blackberry Creek and one at John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove.

The position was approved at a salary of $70,000, though the district will make some cuts to help pay for it. There will be an elimination of the outplacement staffing stipend of $7,500, as well as the elimination of two paraprofessionals, which will bring a savings of $48,000. The board unanimously approved the move.

Also, board members did not wish to pursue more information about the possibility of reinstating after-practice transportation routes. The issue has been explored at recent meetings, but board members said the cost – which would be about $200,000 – would be too high.

Some board members had asked about what the cost might be if a fee were to be charged for those who use the service. Officials said if $100 were charged a semester, the cost would be only slightly lower – about $150,000.

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