As you’ve likely heard, the school board is considering two referenda questions for the community to vote on in 2020 – one for facilities and one for operating expenses – that would further our academic vision for the future, maintain our position as an employer of choice that attracts high-quality staff, and have the farthest-reaching positive impact on students for generations to come. Learn more.
Since September, we’ve been busy meeting with the community to hear what you think about the potential referenda. While the input period is open through December, the district prepared and presented a mid-process report (aka “halftime report”) to the board on Monday, November 11.
The report included a preliminary analysis of feedback collected from 31 input sessions, 132 feedback forms, session notes, and participant comments and questions.
What did the analysis show?
Overall, the analysis reflected general support from the public for the two potential referenda, with some concerns surfacing over the size and financial impact.
As for the potential facilities referendum, below are the findings of the report:
A new elementary school in the Rimrock area
We asked for feedback on exploring the possibility of building a new elementary school in the Rimrock area to give underserved students and families a much-needed school in their neighborhood.
The analysis showed strong support for building a new elementary school in the Rimrock area. There is a belief that it would answer a critical need for students and families in the neighborhood.
Some voiced concerns that it could, because of neighborhood demographics, contribute to racial or socioeconomic segregation.
A home for Capital High Students
We asked for feedback on moving our Capital High Westside students out of an over-capacity leased strip mall site and our Capital High Eastside students out of borrowed space inside Lapham Elementary School and into a permanent home in a school building we own, Hoyt School.
The report reflected support for unifying Capital High Eastside and Westside students into one building.
Some concerns surfaced about long commute times to Hoyt School for certain students as well as a concern around the increased use of Hoyt Park and its impact on surrounding neighborhoods.
Transforming our high schools
We asked the public about significant renovations that would transform learning environments in our four main high schools, where we can impact a third of our students and every attendance area.
The report showed strong support for reinvesting in our high schools. There is an overall agreement of the clear need to reinvest in our four main high schools. Key priorities that emerged include sustainability, energy efficiency and conservation as well as the consideration of Title IX, all-gender restrooms and changing areas.
Questions did emerge about the equal distribution of referendum funds per high school.
The feedback on the potential operating referendum, which would allow us to continue the services and supports we are currently providing students without having to cut large numbers of staff, increase class sizes, and make deeper and more disruptive cuts in coming years, was more limited, but signaled general support and recognition of the need to maintain our high-quality staff.
Input sessions have continued since the Nov. 11 update, with about two dozen sessions left to hold through November and December.
The referenda survey is open through December 5. Once the survey closes and the public input sessions wrap, feedback will be analyzed and the team will give a final report of public input to the school board in January 2020.