PROVO Despite doubts from some parents, Provo School District will move forward with plans to implement a gifted and talented program.
It will be called the Center for Accelerated Studies and is to be located in a segment of Grandview Elementary School, 1591 N. Jordan Ave., Provo. Grandview is slated to close at the end of this school year and most of the building will be demolished.
The Provo Board of Education, after some debate and listening to questions and comments from the public Tuesday morning, voted 4 to 2 to approve the gifted and talented program.
The center is planned to house approximately 75 students and open this fall. Parents of about 200 students have expressed interest in admissions, district officials said.
Board members Darryl Alder, Sue Curtis, Sandy Packard and Carolyn Wright voted for implementation.
Curtis said she believes every child deserves to learn something new every day. "Why be content with mediocrity?" she said.
Packard said she didn't want gifted and talented test scores mingled with those of nearby Westridge Elementary School when possible. This was added as an amendment to the motion, along with another board member's suggestion to keep up with gifted and talented pull-out programs in the district's mainstream schools.
Board members Richard Sheffield and Shannon Poulsen voted against the gifted and talented program. They cited reasons such as the potential cost and that the district already offers a gifted and talented program in the form of pull-out classes, or after school.
Annual fixed costs of the program would include $11,000 for custodial, $16,000 for utilities and $25,000 for busing and administration. One-time costs are $3,000 for summer planning and $7,000 for curriculum materials.
It will cost the district $100,000 to remodel the building and $15,000 for landscaping and sidewalks. District officials point out it would cost around $100,000 to demolish the building.
Parent Lynn Stallard said she is upset at the idea of the gifted and talented program taking resources from the other schools.
Ginny Smith, district gifted coordinator; and Stacey Briggs, board member of the Utah Association for Gifted Children, were on hand to answer questions. They both agree the separate school is needed because it is difficult for a teacher to give enough attention to a gifted and talented student in a mainstream classroom.
Parent Anna Lea Cannon said she is worried the gifted and talented kids will be isolated in their school, which can lead to a lack of social skills plus a feeling of elitism."They are not best served up at Grandview by themselves," she said.