The Jefferson Joint School District No. 251 Board of Trustees decided to make Farnsworth Elementary School a complete 6th through 8th grade middle school, rather than deciding to make it a single middle grade center.
District Superintendent Chad Martin said there are pros and cons to each option, a key difference of which is cost. He said to return Farnsworth to a complete middle school there would be various costs associated with it ranging from coach stipends to equipment purchases.
“Farnsworth was originally built as a middle school so the infrastructure is there,” he said during the May 8 board meeting. “It’s got the necessities for a band room, shop, gym and locker room.”
Trustee Leon Clark, and the other trustees stated that they all believe a full middle school would be the most beneficial option for the district.
“The opportunity provided to the number of students by reducing the size of the (Rigby) middle school, by about half, opens so many opportunities in music, in speech, drama, student government, I think it would be appropriate to recommend that we go with a middle school format, rather than a 6th grade center,” Clark said.
“I really think that the middle school makes more sense,” Trustee Roy Ellis said.
Martin said a few of the preliminary costs include $15,000 for shop equipment, $10,000 to $12,000 for sports uniforms and $2,000 to $3,000 for athletic coaches and travel.
He said direct costs for sports are difficult to determine at this point because many of the costs are offset by participation fees.
Martin told The Star May 9 that Farnsworth would offer the same athletic programs and activities as Rigby Middle School.
“There will be the same activities, but it will give twice as many kids opportunities,” he said.
Programs such as the band would have little to no cost when developing a program at Farnsworth because the program would simply be split in half.
Martin indicated that they are in the beginning stages of deciding the boundaries and which students would go to which middle school. Likewise, he noted that they will need to hire a new principal for Farnsworth prior to opening the school in 2020.