CLOVER -- Clover High School will wait a year to implement Grade 8.5.
Citing uncertainty about money needed to devote staff to the program and the desire to do more research, Clover High Principal Ron Wright said the school will hold off until next year.
Grade 8.5 is a intervention program that helps students struggling in eighth grade get caught up to where they should be for ninth grade.
Advocates say students feel better because they aren't forced to stay in a junior high setting, but they still get the chance to get caught up.
Wright gave four reasons for the delay.
"We wanted to spend more time developing the curriculum. We want to spend more time looking at technology and it's implications for helping at risk kids. We want to visit some sites that are using Grade 8.5. And fourth, we want to get to maybe a better budget situation where we can add some personnel to do it," Wright said.
Board member Windy Bartee said she regrets that the students who could have gone in the program this year won't be able to.
Doubts about money
School Superintendent Marc Sosne said the district foresees needing to add 17 new positions to handle growth for next year.
"If we didn't have the present budget problem, we could have afforded to give the high school a couple of extra positions for next year, which would have made it much easier for them to implement (Grade 8.5)," Sosne said. "One of the major stumbling blocks is how they would have had to reassign staff internally to make this work without creating overloads in other areas."
Wright believes the program will take root once it is created.
"I think this is a program of the future, not just here, but I think it's a program of the future nationally," Wright said. "I think the idea of helping a student before they experience one or two years of failure in high school bears more solid thought."
The school board will hold a public hearing about this year's budget on June 2 at 7 p.m. at the school district office.