After studying the issues of declining enrollment and its financial and educational impact for quite a few years, Newbury Schools have decided to merge with West Geauga Schools, effective for the 2020-2021 school year. We had been considering both the West Geauga School District and the Berkshire School District, and met with their leadership for many months as we analyzed our options. This was a difficult decision because both districts have much to offer. We thank the Berkshire Schools for engaging in discussions with us, and appreciate their transparency along with their commitment to quality education for all families.
We recommended West Geauga for a number of factors, but the most important consideration was the breadth and quality of student programs from AP and college-prep classes, to clubs and sports that enhance character and build life-long skills.
The Newbury Schools worked diligently for many years to remain independent, but we reached a critical point once our student enrollment neared 300. It was no longer economically feasible to remain independent. This decision was ultimately made to ensure that our children had access to the classes and programs that will best prepare them for future success.
When and if the Newbury and West Geauga school boards pass their resolutions to recommend a merger, the Geauga County Educational Service Center will consider the resolution to propose the transfer of school territory. This is expected to take place by July 2019.
In the meantime, both administrative teams will begin the transition process to best prepare for the school year, beginning in August 2020. Those transition plans include conducting joint planning and professional development with staff members, and finding appropriate opportunities to bring student groups together. One-on-one meetings with staff and the superintendent have already begun so we can work together and ease concerns.
We understand that this is indeed a bittersweet moment for our staff, parents and families and will continue to communicate transition plans as they are being made. We are all dedicated to making this process as smooth as possible for our students and our staff.