Recommendations for managing growth, utilizing facilities, coming in November
For the past eight months the district has been conducting an extensive preK-12 Master Facilities and Programming Study which has included a comprehensive review of facilities and enrollment. This is a continuation of a study that began two years ago in which the district studied options to balance enrollment across the elementary schools, find a long-term placement for the Spanish Immersion program, and manage changing enrollments in the future. This study has been guided by the weekly (often more) meetings of a Design Team of district staff, the participation of a Parent/Community Input Team, and the external expertise provided by Reinhardt Consulting and Wold Architects.
"Next steps" and a summary of the study to this point are provided below.
At the October 9 School Board Meeting, Dr. Jeff Ronneberg, superintendent, provided an update on the school district’s continuing Master Facilities and Programming Study.
Facilities and Boundaries: Part of an ongoing study
The primary purpose of the 2010 study, he explained, was to adjust boundaries to balance enrollment across the elementary schools, as well as to find a long-term placement for the Spanish Immersion program. During the time of the earlier study, the district experienced significant enrollment growth, and while potential solutions were identified, it was evident each of the viable approaches would be short-term solutions.
Facilities and programming study
For the past eight months, Dr. Ronneberg explained, the district has been working internally, and with Reinhardt Consulting and Wold Architects, to conduct a comprehensive review of facilities and enrollment, a Master Facilities and Programming Study.
The most recent progress report on the study was presented to the School Board in September, and an extensive account of this presentation is available (View video and slide presentations from Sept. 11 and Oct. 9) on the school district website, Dr. Ronneberg said at the start of his Oct. 9 presentation, “so my goal is to highlight the updated Guiding Change parameters developed by the School Board and administration to guide the decision-making, and to highlight the recent progress and next steps.
The content of his presentation follows:
Why are we reviewing our facilities and programming at this time?
- The district has been experiencing, and will continue to see, steady enrollment growth
- Reinhardt Consulting Services completed an extensive study of district enrollment, resulting in a ten-year enrollment projection. District-wide enrollment growth is expected to exceed 20% over the next 8-10 years, ultimately exceeding 6,100 students
- Elementary enrollment will increase slightly and then stabilize
- Enrollment at grades 4-8, and at the high school, will continue to increase over the next ten years as students in the early elementary grades migrate through the grades
- Ultimately, Reinhardt projects enrollment in grades 4-8 will exceed 2,500 and grades 9-12 will exceed 2,100
- Northpoint and Woodcrest Elementary Schools are at or near potential capacity, while Park Terrace Elementary is currently underutilized as a facility with respect to enrollment
- The Westwood Schools are at potential capacity, and are projected to see a significant increase over the next five years
- As a result, this is the final year Spanish Immersion can be placed at the Westwood campus
- Market share trends indicate increasing levels of parent choice influencing enrollment decisions out of and into the district
- The district is growing more racially and socio-economically diverse
- Early childhood programming needs are increasing overall, in pre-K, and there is an ever-increasing demand for all-day, every-day kindergarten
- Spanish Immersion currently has students in grades K-3 of a planned K-5 program, and enrollment trends and interest indicates planning for 3-4 classroom sections per grade
- The Lighthouse Program continues to grow in enrollment at the elementary grades, and
programming options for the future need to be considered as part of this planning
Desired results for option or options
The options created will
- address growth and placement of choice options, specifically the Spanish Immersion program, utilize facilities effectively,
- effectively manage current and future enrollment trends, identifying short-term decisions that position the district to make effective longer-term decisions in response to a ten-year K-12 enrollment projection exceeding 6,100 students
- improve potential of balancing student demographics to effectively meet student needs and utilize resources effectively
Unacceptable means for option or options to be brought forward
In preparing the option(s), the school district
- will not violate statute or negotiated agreement
- will not identify modifications that are misaligned with district purpose, vision, and overarching goals
- will not increase ongoing operating costs due to school configuration
- will not identify changes that increase the demographic gap
Facilities and programming study to date
- Reinhardt Consulting Services has completed an extensive enrollment study, resulting in a ten-year enrollment projection. This included an analysis of birth rates, capture rate of school-age residents, student migration analysis, housing analysis, and study of student demographics.
- Wold Architects performed a capacity analysis on all K-12 schools and district facilities. Results of the study provide:
- documentation of how each site is currently being used
- potential capacity, or maximum capacity, if every classroom had the class size target number of students
- planning capacity, or the capacity to allow for center-based programming, student needs, and changing enrollment by grade
- review of all sites for possible classroom additions should they be necessary
- A Design Team has been extensively studying facilities options to address current and emerging needs and influences and identifying related cost and program implications over the past few months,
- The School Board refined the Guiding Change (decision-making parameters), reviewed earlier in this presentation, at their September work session after having the opportunity to study the findings of the enrollment study
- All scenarios have been “on the table” and under review by the Design Team. As of this date, the following options, that had previously been mentioned as possible scenarios, have been eliminated:
- Leasing space to address short-term needs will not be considered for Fall 2013
- Spanish Immersion will not be moved to the high school’s Able Street space currently being used by Learning Alternatives Community School
An article on the Master Facilities and Programming Study is in the "Connections" newsletter that should arrive in most households the week of October 15, and updates will continue to be provided at SpringLakeParkSchools.org