The Colusa Unified School District facilities meeting last week quadrupled in attendance after Superintendent Dwayne Newman sent out personal invitations to community members, staff, school board members, and parents.
Although it was the last discussion of 2018, the conversation is far from over, Newman said. The district will hold its next facility meeting at 5:30 PM on Jan. 19.
School officials have been tying to get a pulse on the community as to whether the school district should maintain its old schools, which no longer fit the educational priorities of the 21st century, or whether they should try to build new efficient learning centers.
During the past four monthly meetings, held in the old auditorium in the District office, which is Colusa Unified’s oldest structure, Newman has talked about how education has changed since the facilities were built, as well as the physical changes in and emotional needs of the students themselves.
“Education used to be one of the least researched fields, because back in the day, they thought education was more art than science,” he said.
While the district is far from deciding whether to repair or replace some of its schools, January’s meeting should begin looking at a vision for long-term facility upgrades to take the district to year 2030 and beyond.
Newman said that while the number one factor in student achievement is the teacher, efficient facilities do play an important role in education.
Newman also believes Colusa students spend too much time traveling from place to place on campus, which may indicate a need to build up instead of out.
“If you spend more time with students, they learn more,” he said.
School atmosphere also has a huge impact on education, he said, as modern schools work to make their facilities more inviting, fun, interactive, and thought provoking.
The district has identified about $35 million in funding needs to modernize Colusa Unified School District, and invites the public to attend the monthly meetings.
Meetings are planned until May, at which time the district hopes to have an idea as to whether to repair or build new schools, as well as identify funding sources. ■