TCAPS board eliminates Spanish class for most elementary students

Mar 21, 2017

TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma listens during a school board meeting Monday, March 13, 2017.
Credit David Cassleman

Traverse City school officials have voted to cut Spanish class for most elementary school students in a move that the district says will save $400,000.

The board of education for Traverse City Area Pubic Schools met Monday night to vote on the proposal. The board also approved sunsetting the International Baccalaureate program at the middle school level. 

The superintendent’s office has said the district needs to save money to maintain fiscal stability. Superintendent Paul Soma said it was a difficult recommendation to make to the board.

“They’ve all been difficult in the last three years as we’ve moved our school system from kind of the precipice of that downward slope to a more horizontal slope,” Soma said during the meeting. 

TCAPS closed two elementary schools last year. 

Under the plan, foreign language instruction would continue at Traverse Heights Elementary School and the Montessori Program at Glen Loomis. But students at the other elementary schools would go to art or physical education classes instead of Spanish. 

Board members voted unanimously in favor of the measure. 

“Once we’ve achieved success in adding programs and offering greater menus of choices for our students, to kind of eliminate that we do feel it’s a step back,” board member Sue Kelly said. “But I think it’s a step toward stability district wide.”

More than a dozen parents, teachers and Traverse City residents spoke against the move at a meeting last week.