Referendum 2018 FAQs - Schools

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► General Questions

 Enrollment Growth

► Elementary School

► Middle School

► High School

► Process

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Elementary School

I’m concerned the elementary school is too big.

The proposed new elementary school would have capacity for 525 students. That number was based on having 5 sections in each grade (K-4) with an average of 21 students per classroom. The District has determined that is the maximum capacity it wants at an elementary school.

Of the District’s six elementary schools, four – Elm Lawn (497), Northside (466), Sunset Ridge (485) and West Middleton (443) – have capacity for more than 400 students.

Rather than building a new elementary school, is the District able to solve enrollment growth by redrawing boundaries and rebalancing students across all the elementary sites?

The District was 117 students under capacity at the elementary level in 2017-18 and projects to be 66 students under capacity in 2018-19. By the following year, the District will be over capacity at the elementary and by 2022-23, 281 students over capacity. 

If the District was to redraw boundaries in the short term, it would mean some students
would no longer attend their neighborhood elementary school. In order to truly relieve
overcrowding at schools over capacity, entire sections of students in a grade level would
 need to go to a different elementary school. There doesn’t open any classroom space in those schools.

Rather than building a new elementary school, could the District build additions onto one or more of the existing elementary schools?

The FPC considered additions at West Middleton, which is currently over capacity, and Park, which is projected to be over capacity in the next few years. An addition at West Middleton would have increased capacity to 525, but that would have provided only temporary relief as enrollment is projected to be well over that in that attendance area by 2027-28. The Park project is expected to be part of a future phase when space to deal with increased enrollment makes that more pressing.

In addition, each project was estimated to cost more than $10 million apiece. The
 FPC determined building a new elementary school with capacity for 525 students
 was a better financial investment. And while additional classrooms would have 
increased capacity at Park and West Middleton, it would have also further taxed core
 spaces in those schools.

Why does Park Elementary need its own cafeteria?

While adding a cafeteria at Park doesn’t increase capacity, it is an equity issue. Park is currently the only elementary school in the District that doesn’t have a separate cafeteria and gymnasium or all-purpose room. The current gymnasium is not available for about 2 hours each day, which causes challenges when constructing a schedule and making sure students have enough physical education time.

Why is the District building temporary classrooms at West Middleton?

Enrollment is projected to be more than 520 students at West Middleton in 2018-19. The school needs 25 classrooms next year and only has 22. By building a section west of the school with space for two classrooms, the District will only have to convert one space inside the current building into a classroom to make room for 25.

The plan is should a referendum be successful, a committee would be formed to look at boundaries that make sense and would relieve overcrowding at every elementary school while also keeping neighborhoods together. The new structure at West Middleton would then be used for District storage or for other purposes by the school.

Middle School

Why isn’t the district addressing middle school capacity needs in November?

The FPC looked at multiple ways to address middle school capacity needs. Those options were included on the community survey. Ultimately, there wasn’t one option that had the support of a majority of residents. In addition, the amount supported in the community for a survey did not make it possible to currently address space issues at all three levels.

When might middle school needs be addressed?

It is important to remember the middle schools were addressed in 2012. The rebuilt Kromrey has capacity for more than 1,200 students, while Glacier Creek now has capacity for 975 students. Kromrey is projected to have close to 1,200 students in 2018-19, while Glacier Creek is projected to have around 1,025 students.

The District will continue to monitor enrollment growth at the middle school level. 
Phase 3 of the District’s long-range master facilities planning includes addressing enrollment challenges at that level, whether it be through an addition to Glacier Creek, a third middle school or another option.

What might be the short-term solutions for continued growth in grades 5-8?

In recent years, the District has approved more alternate school assignments so that students who live in the Glacier Creek attendance area can go to Kromrey. This has helped keep Glacier Creek’s enrollment closer to capacity. The District will continue to look at this annually, provided it doesn’t result in Kromrey facing overcrowding issues.

How would crowding in the hallways be addressed at Glacier Creek?

Administration and staff have worked on schedules and looked at daily pinch points. The school has created specific traffic patterns to reduce the number of students passing in a single hallway. Alternate passing times will also be considered and students are monitored by staff in the hallways during all passing times.                    Back to top

High School

Why not build a second high school?

The FPC considered a second high school. Ultimately, there were concerns that programming would not be equal between the two schools or that programs currently offered would not be available in two schools of roughly 1,500 students each.

Also, by the time the District purchased land and built a second high school, the cost would be approximately $160 million or more. There are still infrastructure issues at Middleton High School, which means $200 million would likely be needed just at the high school level. Pursuing that option would cost also cost significantly more than the community indicated they would support without providing any relief to the elementary space needs.

I’m concerned a 3,000-student capacity high school is too big. How will the District ensure high school students receive the attention and assistance they need to be successful?

The current plan for the rebuilt and expanded high school would result in fewer large spaces by having multiple smaller spaces, such as commons areas, eating spaces, student services areas, and library and media spaces.

A number of things are already in development that help personalize the experience for students and help them build connections. These include an advisory program, where students are assigned an adviser for four years; Link Crew, which helps freshmen transition to the high school and have an upperclassmen as a mentor; All-School Resource, which is an opportunity every other day to spend extra time with a specific teacher for support; the same counselor for all four years; invitation-only conferences; campus support staff who work hard to know every student in the building; and student groups that provide an increased sense of identity, community and belonging.

Where will students, staff and visitors park as the high school population increases?

A new parking lot will be built north of the current building. Another lot will be added south of the high school. The current plan would result in the nearly the same number of parking spaces that are currently available. We are working with students and staff to come up with additional solutions, along with investigating possible off site park-and-ride shuttle options.

What will happen to Clark Street Community School (CSCS)?

CSCS, the District’s project-based, charter school for students in grades 9-12, will have its own area inside Middleton High School. It will continue to provide cutting-edge opportunities for students. We believe as we continue to develop partnerships with our business community this will result in even more opportunities for our students.

The current CSCS building will be converted to an early childhood/4K center, bringing together those programs that are currently located in three different MCPASD buildings.

I understand the high school needs more space (capacity) to accommodate more students.  But why is the District proposing to demolish classrooms and the cafeteria/commons area?  Why not keep the existing classrooms and add a smaller addition?

MHS has aging infrastructure. There have been seven additions and numerous renovations since it originally opened in 1929. There are fire alarm issues, flooding on the south side of the building, sewage issues adjacent to Franklin Street and several undersized classrooms. All of these issues would be addressed in the areas considered for demolition.

Is the current high school facility limiting the number and/or type of courses available to high school students?

There are 194 course offerings at MHS, including 23 advanced placement courses. However, while we have comprehensive band, orchestra and choir programs, the space available for those offerings is quite small, especially considering the growth in the number of students who wish to take those courses. Another example is the Family and Consumer Science area, which has inadequate space for the number of students participating and also outdated equipment.

Enrollment is projected to increase at the high school. What happens when the newly renovated high school reaches capacity?

If the high school is rebuilt and expanded, enrollment is projected to surpass 3,000 students at MHS by 2027-28. The District will continue to monitor enrollment trends as the high school nears capacity. The District will engage the community in another comprehensive facilities planning process to determine the best next steps.  

Referendum FAQs PDF (Updated Sept. 17, 2018)