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Washoe County trustees vote to pull Brown Elementary off multi-track schedule

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees meets on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 (SBG)

Brown Elementary School will be pulled off its previously announced multi-track schedule for the next school year. Washoe County School District trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to reverse the decision, which was made in 2015.

The Board of Trustees vote came after dozens of parents showed up tot he meeting to express concerns about switching to a school-round schedule. Some parents said the proposed schedule would create hardship for families, while others said it would impact finances for the elementary school.

PTO Treasurer Kimberly Gogaware said, "it poses the risk of having less funds being raised. And if we don't raise the funds to fund these programs, who's going to pick up the bill?"

Teachers added their perspective. Music teacher Debbie Vaughan has been teaching at Brown Elementary for 22 years. She said, "I still am responsible for the same number of students whether we're multi-track or balanced calendar."

A handful of fifth-graders even stepped up to the podium to give their two cents. Maddie Gomes said, "there would be no students council. We are all on student council." She said student council allows her to take on a leadership role at school.

Logan Kunze said, "I have actually three sisters, one of which, if we go on year-round, won't be on year-round, so she'll be left out of almost everything we do together."

Many attendees argued the elementary school has been operating just fine at 120 percent capacity. PTO President Christa Gomes said, "everybody moves through that school like a well-oiled machine."

She and PTO Vice President Darci Bartalomy believe construction of another elementary school in South Reno will alleviate the overcrowding at Brown. Bartalomy said, "we can function for another two years when they're building the new school and stay on a balanced calendar."

It seemed parents' points were well-received by the Board of Trustees. Some members went so far as to compliment Brown Elementary on how it operates. Trustee Verónica Frenkel said she was impressed when she walked through Brown. "I observed quiet in the hallways when students were passing."

Other trustees said keeping the elementary on its current schedules could allow the district to conduct a study. Katy Simon Holland said, "it's a great opportunity for us to do research on how multi-track and balanced calendar works in our district."

Holland also proposed regular reports about safety incidents and student outcomes at the elementary school moving forward.

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