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RCS revamps fine arts

Citing decreases in local revenue and decreased enrollment, the Russellville City Schools Board of Education approved a “reduction in force” in the fine arts program at Russellville High School – a move that translates to the laying off of a performing arts teacher: choir director Joey Derr.

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Superintendent Heath Grimes said the board sees this as a positive move for the school system, which will continue to offer choral options and add drama programming at the high school under the direction of RMS’ Patrice Smith and Emily Rush, who presently teach middle school drama and choir/show choir, respectively. Smith and Rush will continue instruction at the middle school while adding instruction at the high school level.

“Our kids are leaving the middle school, where they’re having these big productions in the performing arts, and they’re going to the high school and, for whatever reason, we don’t have the enrollment,” Grimes said, also pointing out that the high school currently does not offer a drama program – choral only. “We’re going to share units (that is, teachers) with the middle school, where we can share their choir teacher and drama teacher and do the same thing they are doing at the middle school. What that allows me to do is to give more of what the community wants and to continue the program at the high school with one less (teacher).

“We’re not reducing services to students at all,” he added. “This is about efficiency … We’re actually going to be able to offer more and do that with one less (teacher).”

To kick off its Thursday meeting, Grimes and the board recognized about two dozen student-athletes as it honored the achievements of the Russellville High School softball and girls golf teams.

In electing officers, the board named Gregg Trapp president and Bret Gist president-elect.

The next regular board meeting will be June 30 at 3:30 p.m., with the work session June 27 at 2:30 p.m. A special called meeting is anticipated prior to that date.

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