Unified School District 353 is set to begin district restructuring discussions this month

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News
Front of Wellington High School

Unified School District 353 Administration is set this month to begin discussions with stakeholders regarding the restructuring of the USD 353 school district.

According to Superintendent Adam Hatfield, one of the reasons district restructuring is needed is due to declining enrollment.

“The district has been on a downward trend in enrollment numbers over the past 12 years due to the declining population,” he says. This has caused a discrepancy in class sizes across the district. In 2010, USD 353 enrollment was 1,638 students and currently, in 2021, enrollment is 1,421 students.

“We try to be very vigilant in using taxpayer dollars wisely. Currently, with the discrepancy in class sizes, we need to take a fresh look at our district structure,” says Hatfield.

The first step was to gain clarity on what our community and taxpayers felt were appropriate class sizes for our district. After gathering this information from stakeholders, the USD 353 BOE voted on standard class size for each grade level in the district.

That vote happened in March and those numbers are as follows:

  • Kindergarten through first grade: 15
  • Second grade through fifth grade: 18
  • Sixth grade through 12th grade: 22

The next step is to decide the best course of action to get our class sizes to meet these

numbers.

Additionally, USD 353 has a goal to increase its impact on the education of four-year-olds in the community. Hatfield says that restructuring the district could potentially free up space in district buildings to serve more preschool-aged children. He says this could include working with programs already offered in the community or the district housing their own preschool program. 

“There are many options to be considered and how we go about restructuring and we need the input of the community and stakeholders,” says Hatfield. 

He will be speaking with community groups, school site councils and finally will lead discussions at a Town Hall meeting. The Town Hall discussion will be on Nov. 17th at 7 p.m. at the Wellington High School Auditorium. 

Greg Williams has been the reporter for the Wellington Daily News and Butler County Times-Gazette since May 2021. You can reach him at GWilliams@gannett.com or on Twitter at @GregWilliams28.