FCSD #25 discusses reconfiguration

    (Riverton, WY) – The Fremont County School District #25 Board of Trustees decided on Feb. 1 to vote at their next meeting on whether or not to close an elementary school this fall or in a few years.

    At Thursday’s work session, school administrators shared the pros and cons of reconfiguring the buildings with the Board and a packed room. The Board was not taking comments that evening. Instead, a portal on the district’s website would be available later for those who want to submit questions or comments.

    If the Board moves forward with reconfiguration, they plan to gather public comment at small group discussions, which will be announced later.


    “We’re just going to give some general background information and some data and then some possible avenues for moving forward with conversations as we pursue a potential reconfiguration,” Superintendent Jodi Ibach said.

    Business Manager Matt Gonzales explained why reconfiguring the buildings might be a good idea.

    He said that FCSD #25 is the only district in the state to have a standalone kindergarten building – Aspen Early Learning Center. The district also has an excess of elementary classroom space overall.

    “The districts our size have fewer schools in general,” he explained.


    The district ranks 30th in teacher pay across 48 districts – that adds up to $2,800 annually behind the other districts. Paras and secretaries are, on average, paid $2.50 an hour less, while bus drivers, custodians, and food service workers are $3 behind.

    Gonzales said closing a school would save an estimated $500,000, allowing raises. When asked if those raises could happen without closing a building, he said it was unclear.

    He also shared test score data that showed third grade falling behind in English Language Arts and math compared to state averages.


    Teacher collaboration was also big on his pro list for reconfiguring the buildings, allowing teachers to have “informal” discussions with each other.

    Ibach presented information for keeping the schools as they are and possibly revisiting a reconfiguration in a few years.

    The data reported is only three years old and after COVID.


    The Safety Report would be difficult to keep as a primary focus.

    Recent program initiatives will be paused or disrupted, such as the professional learning communities (PLC) focus and creating a districtwide behavioral system.

    Planned program initiatives will be postponed – the focus will be temporarily shifted to the “move” and away from other impactful practices.

    Adding another major change may negatively impact the climate and culture of the district in the short term.

    “We already know from our 360º evaluations that was our lowest scoring point,” Ibach said about the climate and culture.

    The district has reconfigured frequently, she noted, going back to 2009, 2012 and 2016.

    The current configuration is K (Aspen Early Learning Center), 1-3 (Willow Creek, Ashgrove, Jackson), and 4-5 (Rendezvous).

    Another reason to stay with the current configuration is because primary resource adoption has been consistent from K-3 and 4-5. K-3 uses the same primary ELA resource, 4-5 usees a different ELA resource, and K-5 uses the same primary math resource.

    It avoids being a Title 1 targeted assistance program for a year. They are currently a schoolwide program, which means Title 1 funds can be used to support any program within the school. In contrast, targeted assistance programs are allowed to fund only identified students.

    Outdoor features such as parking lots, drop-off points, etc…may not readily support a change in configuration.

    However, federal ESSER funds are set to expire in Sept. they currently fund 50 positions within the district. It was said that administrators have been working hard to transfer those employees into open positions, though it will still be a challenge. Doing the reconfiguration at the same time might avoid having two difficult disruptions.

    If the Board were to close a building next fall, they would have to vote on it at the Feb. 13 meeting and then go to the State Facilities Commission in March for approval.

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