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March 20, 2017

Board accepts FAC interim report, will resurvey after informing community

After studying issues related to housing growth in the community, its impact on future enrollment and the capacity of school buildings to serve more students, the 50-member Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) recommended that the School Board delay a referendum decision for a few months.

Three members of the committee – Jennifer Barnish, Jamie Schounard and Peggy Youngblood – and Human Resources Director John Roubik presented the awaited report. Because many respondents of a community survey were not aware of district facilities needs and potential solutions, the committee recommended that the district provide information to the community and resurvey the community later this spring.

During its study, the committee concluded that:

  • A potential for significant residential growth in the next five years exists.
  • Enrollment increases of 70+ students per year could be expected over the next several years causing space issues at all grade levels and all buildings. Using conservative projections, the district will see more than 350 new students in the next five years.
  • School building classroom space is being used to near capacity.
  • The high school applied engineering area has not been updated since the school opened in 1962 and some equipment is obsolete.

FAC pares down options

The committee reviewed a list of 13 potential facilities options to address projected growth and update high school programming. After several meetings, the committee narrowed the list to $57.4 million of new or renovated facilities and $1.5 million in annual operational costs that included:

  • A new intermediate school for all students in grades 5-6. Space would be created at the elementary and middle schools by relocating grade 5 students from all four elementary schools and grade 6 from Templeton Middle School to a new school building. District storage would be relocated from the high school to the new school. Cost: $42.9 million.
  • A new school could not open without additional operating costs to cover utilities, custodians, paraprofessionals, administration, guidance counselors, psychologist, social worker, office staff and health room. Cost: $1.5 million annually.
  • High school expansion to alleviate capacity issues at the high school for the foreseeable future. Cost: $9.6 million.
  • Renovation of outdated applied engineering classrooms are needed. Area businesses are in need of skilled employees. This project would benefit and create new opportunities for approximately 500 high school students each year. Cost: $3.6 million – renovation, $1.3 million – new equipment.

In addition to addressing capacity issues, both high school expansion and renovation projects would provide suitable classrooms and learning space that would enhance rigorous academic offerings including applied mathematics and science, career training, vocational and technical classes, more curriculum choices and individualized learning opportunities.

Once the level of community support for a potential referendum has been determined based on the results from information outreach and a second community survey, FAC will present a final recommendation to the School Board for consideration at a future meeting.

Woodside in the spotlight

Several students and teachers described programs and efforts that Woodside Elementary School has worked on to benefit others and their school.

  • Grade 4 teacher Kelly Flanagan and library-media specialist Eve Bruce, along with three student members, gave examples of how Students of Service reached out to the homeless, kids in need, the humane society and food pantry among other groups, to provide services for others.
  • Grade 3 teacher Rayelle Simonsen reported on the Turkey Tubs that Woodside students make possible for Milwaukee families of the Notre Dame schools. In the five years that Woodside has provided the Thanksgiving baskets of food, about $10,000 worth of food was provided to families in need.
  • Tech integrator Jodi Rupnow described the volunteer service that members of the Tech Squad provide to the school by managing and safely cleaning equipment and becoming troubleshooters for technology issues.
  • Kindergarten teacher Peter Dargatz showed a video and told School Board members of the work that his kindergartners have done to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Approximately $4,300 was raised due to the efforts of the kindergartners and later, the schoolwide service project headed up by his young students.

In addition to the service projects, Woodside has continued making academic progress with its tactical goals of reading and mathematics achievement.

School Board recognizes Cheslock

The School Board recognized Woodside music teacher Heather Cheslock who was presented with Civic Music’s Certificate of Excellence in General Music Instruction. Cheslock was honored along with five other Milwaukee area teachers at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s “Salute to Educators” concert at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Girl Scouts learn about School Board for government patch

Members of Marcy Elementary School’s Girl Scout troop attended a School Board meeting and met with Superintendent Paul Mielke and School Board President Gabe Kolesari before the meeting to earn a government patch. The troop also was invited to lead “The Pledge of Allegiance” to start the meeting.

Personnel action

In personnel news, the School Board accepted the resignations of Marcy special services paraprofessional Erica Kochanski, effective March 7, Marcy special services paraprofessional Brooke Spitzner, effective March 9, and Woodside associate kitchen employee Linda DiMiceli, effective March 16.