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VICC panel meets today

A Mehlville School District committee that will examine the district's future participation in the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp. program will conduct its first meeting today — Oct. 9.

The VICC Committee, comprised of students, parents, community members and Board of Education members, will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Bernard Middle School on Forder Road.

Superintendent Tim Ricker said the first committee meeting will be an organizational meeting and members will be given a great deal of information to digest.

"A challenge for them will be understanding a large bit of data up front — both the financial and educational side," Ricker told the Call. "And their biggest challenge is to be able to take 20 some years worth of a program, boil it down into three or four weeks worth of work and try to have a crystal ball that looks into the future, which is tenuous at best because of the financial situation of the state.

"That's the booming cloud over everything for us right now. When we say: 'What are we going to do with VICC?' Well, what is the state going to do with VICC?"

It took the district a little longer than expected to gather enough committee members, and School/Community Relations Director Patrick Wallace said it was difficult finding people during the summer.

Ricker said to make up for lost time, since the committee initially was scheduled to have met twice a month since August, the committee now will meet once a week in October and November.

He said he is "completely satisfied" with the parents, students, staff members and community members that finally were selected to serve on the committee. The group is diverse, he said, so he does not know how the members will work together and how their personalities will mix.

VICC committee members will have to reach a consensus — meaning at least 80 percent of the members will have to agree on the final participation option that they will present to the board in November, according to standards set by the district.

"My experience is that if we take the time to give everyone a chance to study and think and get their voices heard, the collective group usually makes the better recommendations," Ricker said. "Twenty-five heads are better than one."

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