One Town, Three High Schools; Where Will Little Compton Go?
A decade after Little Compton opted to move high school students from Middletown High School to Portsmouth High instead, on Tuesday night Middletown school officials make their pitch to bring back Little Compton students.
The Little Compton School Committee meets with Middletown's committee tonight at 7 p.m. at the Wilbur & McMahon School in the second round of presentations of recent weeks. They met with Tiverton last month and will welcome Portsmouth on Jan. 6.
"The feedback I've been getting is positive," said Little Compton Superintendent Kathryn Crowley on Monday.
Little Compton parents will have a chance to visit all three high schools for open houses in the coming weeks. Parents are being encouraged to rank the schools on a ballot sheet and hand it into Little Compton school officials.
"There's a criteria sheet that's the same for all three schools, so they know what's expected," she added.
After Portsmouth's presentation next month, Crowley said she hopes parents turn in their sheets so they can be presented to the Little Comtpon School Committee, which has the final say on the new contract.
"This is a good way to operate because all of the parents are involved," Crowley said. "The parents should have ownership of this."
Crowley said the meetings are taped if parents can't make it, and are available on cable public access.
In mid-January, she said Little Compton's School Committee and legal counsel will sit down with the respective school districts' administrations, school committees and legal counsels to discuss the cost-per-student formula that would go into the contract.
The newly crafted contract will have another 10-year term.
"If we do change [schools], students in Portsmouth have the right to stay in Portsmouth," Crowley added about the current students contracted to go there. "They don't have to worry."
According to James Gibney, principal of the Wilbur & McMahon Schools, they are anticipating roughly 125 Little Compton eighth graders to be going into their freshmen years in 2012-13.
Tiverton Superintendent William Rearick said Little Compton was contracted with its abutting town over 30 years ago, and hopes to rekindle that relationship.
"The Little Compton children have grown up with our kids, played on the same youth teams, gone to the same churches and gone to the same community events," said Rearick on Monday. "We're 10 miles away."
He said the presentation Tiverton gave last month to Little Compton went well.
"I thought we did very well about the message out about what Tiverton High School is all about," he said. "I thought the parents had some good questions and the members of the audience thought it was a relatively informal setting."
Rearick said Tiverton High School's curriculum, based on the recent New England Common Assessments Program tests scores, fits right in with Little Compton's.
"It would be a good match for us," he added. "There would be no need to take extra courses."
Rearick said Tiverton will not learn the per-student cost until they sit down with Little Compton in mid-January.