Dickinson Public Schools withdraws from RESP ... againFor the second time in three years, Dickinson Public Schools is withdrawing from Roughrider Education Services Program, citing unkept promises as the main reason for wanting to leave the regional education association.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
For the second time in three years, Dickinson Public Schools is withdrawing from Roughrider Education Services Program, citing unkept promises as the main reason for wanting to leave the regional education association.
This time the withdrawal will keep, provided the board-approved letter is received by March 1.
“This year they have withdrawn within the deadline,” RESP executive director Amy Axtman said Tuesday.
The Dickinson Public School Board previously attempted to withdraw from RESP in 2011, but that letter was rejected because, according to RESP bylaws, withdrawals must be submitted before March 1.
“Dickinson Public Schools has been a valuable member of Roughrider Education Services Program since our inception in 2002. We are disappointed to learn of their withdrawal,” Axtman wrote in a statement Tuesday.
DPS wished to withdraw because it is unhappy with services provided by RESP and with a lack of haste to change to accommodate the school district.
“School districts are at different places with their professional development so that ‘one size fits all’ professional development, we feel, no longer applies,” board President Kris Fehr said Monday.
DPS has not received services from RESP for about three years, she said.
“The frustration and the effort that’s gone into trying to work with this situation for the past 2.5 years has been extensive and it would have been nice if there had been more progress,” Superintendent Doug Sullivan said Monday.
Other grievances include the fee structure, unfilled positions and unanswered questions.
“We have four months left in the fiscal year and we would like to continue to work to see if our concerns can be resolved,” Fehr said.
The topic was discussed before the withdrawal deadline in 2012, but was tabled until Monday night’s meeting at the Central Administration Building in Dickinson.
The DPS board voted unanimously Monday to leave RESP if no changes are made, but would like to leave the option to return open.
“We still don’t have the answers to the original questions that plagued us one year ago,” board member Leslie Ross said Monday. “We still are not getting the services that we need, especially (English language learner) — we’ve asked for it and asked for it and asked for it. We have been plagued by inconsistency.”
DPS has tried hard to make the relationship with RESP work, she said.
“It just seems like we’ve been kicking the can for two years now,” board member Jason Hanson said Monday. “It’s been two years and they still haven’t answered.”
Other schools are going to wait out and see what changes are made with RESP.
“We’re on more of a wait-and-see,” Beach Public School District Superintendent Larry Helvik said Tuesday.
Though she confirmed that RESP was working on changes, Axtman wanted to wait for a later date to discuss them.
“If things do turn around and it looks like we’re going to be able to access services I would obviously like to have Dickinson Public Schools participate in things that would be appropriate and relevant,” Fehr said.
The letter has not been drafted and DPS is not currently seeking another regional education association, Sullivan said Tuesday.