Update - February 25, 2020

  • Potential Consolidation of Primary Schools

    UPDATE - February 25, 2020 School Board Meeting

    • At the February 11 workshop session, we shared a little history about our 4-phase building program, the guiding principles, and key considerations for the various phases. Our current focus is on the primary elementary schools and possible consolidation from four to two. We are working with Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates to help investigate whether consolidation is possible; what it would take both financially and programmatically; and conducted several meetings to help formulate a recommendation.

    • I also shared that Mr. Portser was the key contact for members of the public to share their feedback, ask questions, and/or simply gather information on what consolidation would look like. Mr. Portser has received four emails. One asking about transportation and the length of time students would be on the bus if we consolidated from 4 primary elementary schools to 2; one on how to contact the board to share their opinion; one on several rumors floating around the community like we are closing the school so we can sell the land to the quarry or other entity; and the last one primarily focused on how large class sizes would be if we consolidated.

    • Finally, at our last meeting I shared the next steps which were as follows:
    • Awaiting feedback from the architect
      • Reviewing the impacts of the scheduled movement of 6th grade and 3rd grade,
      • Analyzing resignation and retirements as we always do
      • Discussing organizational needs that could be addressed with consolidation
      • Considering the realignment of staffing at all levels to meet our organization needs and position us for the future
      • Gathering and developing information to share with the board and the public, we want to ensure that $ that are allocated for renovations will be sustainable for the long term financial health of the district while still accomplishing our educational and operational goals

    • Tonight I’d like to provide a brief update on where we stand with our next steps in preparation for our March workshop session where we will provide the findings of the investigation and discuss the path forward. Keep in mind however, we are in an exploratory phase to gauge the feasibility and costs associated with consolidation.  NO final decisions have not been made regarding the consolidation of Rheems and Mill Road.

    • We have had numerous conversations with Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates to clarify room usage, section sizes, guiding principles, general building configuration preferences, safety and security measures, and other considerations that are needed to complete the exploration.

    • As a cabinet, we have taken a preliminary look at the organizational and individual needs of each primary school building.  If we are consolidating from four to two, we are trying to determine the level of support services needed in each building; the level of related arts specials required; and determine what a combination of full day and half day kindergarten built around student needs might look like; as well as our special education services.

    • Tomorrow we will meet with the research team from Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates to look at their early findings, review possible building redesigns, and a very preliminary budget.

    • Later this week, we are meeting with the team of elementary principals to seek their input on what two primary elementary schools could look like as it relates to number of sections of each grade level; the leadership needs of each school; the staffing configuration at each school level all to support the programs and services we envision to be offered at each building; the safety and security priorities; and the infrastructure requirements for the cafeteria, gymnasium, library, etc.

    • The work of Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates, Cabinet, and the building level leadership will need to be analyzed to identify commonalities and differences. We will then work to reconcile those differences to ensure the programs, services, class sizes, and building offerings remain at the levels our families have come to expect in our community.

    • From there we will have a good idea of our needs and desire. Working with Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates refining their preliminary ideas to bring a clearer picture what consolidation would look like, what is needed within our school buildings, and secure estimated costs to share at the March 10 workshop session.

    • So in conclusion, a lot of detailed research has already occurred and will continue to occur over the next 2 weeks both internally and by our outside consultants Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates in order to bring our best vetted and comprehensive report to the March 10 workshop session.

    • Mr. Portser remains our contact for individual questions/concerns brought forth by our stakeholders.