Future of Facilities - Community Engagement Sessions
District News

We are trying to gather information on perspectives from as many of our stakeholders as possible so your School Board can make decisions about approving a 10-year facility plan that meets the needs of the community.   All community members are encouraged to join our email list to receive updates directly to their email inbox.  Community members can sign up for the email list on our District website under the "Stay Informed" tab. Also, we are scheduling the following additional face-to-face opportunities for community engagement to discern what the community may want for the future of their public schools.

 

Date

Location

Time

Wednesday, May 30

Oak Creek Community Center

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

(Pre - presentation 'gallery walk' will open at 3:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, May 30

Oak Creek Community Center

6:00 7:30 p.m.

(Pre - presentation 'gallery walk' will open at 5:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 5

Oak Creek High School Cafeteria

6:00 7:30 p.m.

(Pre - presentation 'gallery walk' will open at 5:30 p.m.)

Child Care will be available at all sessions



Our school district is entering the final stages of an 18-month long process of developing a 10-year facility plan.  In doing so, we have held numerous initial listening sessions with various stakeholder groups. (See previous letter: Why is the district engaging in a STUDY of facilities?)  We have held open-ended listening sessions with community members, parents, employees and high school students.   The purpose of these sessions was to listen in an open-ended way to how various stakeholders felt about their public schools.

In addition to gathering as many perspectives as possible over the past 6 months, we also now have 12 months' worth of comprehensive engineering, technical, and architectural information about the state of your public schools - from top to bottom, border to border.

The School Board took action in December to begin to address some of the most urgent maintenance projects that will result in significant energy savings.  We committed to using these savings to pay down the bonds and lower the tax rate (See previous letter: An opportunity to improve indoor school environments and increase energy efficiency)  and, in the case of improved LED lighting,  borrowing from fund balance (versus public bonds) and repaying this 'self-loan'. When these are paid off, we can spend more on instruction and less on operations.  In the meantime, our learners and employees will have healthier, brighter, and more comfortable schools as these projects are completed over the next three years.

The School Board will be entering the next phase of looking at many facility projects and options over the next two months.  Our goals of this study remain:

A. Assure we have plans in place to address growth in the district

B.  Provide schools greater choices in learning opportunities to meet the needs of our students

C. Modernize schools' environments to bring all schools to equitable standards - with each other and our key competitors.

 

Based on our study this year, we know we have accomplished goal A!  Our existing facilities have the capacity to serve our learners for at least the next ten years.   That is good news.

However, our community has some questions to answer about goals B and C:

 

  1. How can we thoughtfully address some significant deferred and 'coming due' maintenance needs over the next 10 years?
  2. How can we find ways to continue to improve the safety and security of all schools? 
  3. How should we address the challenge that our children's learning opportunities are hindered by the lack of or deficiencies in certain facilities, notably the fine arts and career/technical education, both so vital to their (and our) future? 
  4. Does it matter that our children's learning experiences vary significantly based on whether they attend a school built in 2017 or 1967?  

We are currently in the process of analyzing options and solutions to these challenges. There will be numerous public Board and community meetings to gain more feedback on these more specific, potential solutions.  There will also be a survey commissioned to see what people want for the future of their schools. It is possible, though not for certain by any means, that the Board may choose to consider funding some of the options and/or projects via a referendum of the electors.  If they did so, what would be most important to you? What might you be willing to pay for? In the end, the voters of this community will have the kind of schools they choose to support.

 

If you are an employee or school family, your principal will be sharing specific ideas under consideration for your school site.  To see what is being considered for all 9 schools, please join us at one of the next rounds of community engagement sessions to learn more about what we have learned since last fall's open-ended listening sessions and most importantly, give us feedback on next steps.