Jan and W.M. Stalcup: Answers about school site selection needed
|I was involved in and supported the last school bond election and their committees. My interest stems from being a former educator, school volunteer, school board trustee for 12 years — board chair for eight — in Cheyenne, Wyoming.|
During my tenure, we built six elementary schools, one alternative and one comprehensive high school. Although a different manner of funding — state vs. local bonds — the process to assess district needs, enrollment numbers, new school location or replacement school, boundaries, busing, grade configurations, public input and dozens of other important items are the same no matter where you live or the type of funding.
No one can argue that overcrowding exists here or that there is a need for remodeling existing facilities or that there is a need for a new school. But, I have been surprised with how little conversation there has been about the two sites under consideration.
Surely, the district is conducting the necessary studies and doing the work to evaluate and determine the best location and size for this new elementary school? As an example, was grade configuration studied?
As an educator, I have never heard of and find the idea of putting pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students together in one school particularly troubling especially if 500 students are anticipated. That would clearly not be an elementary school. Does that mean that there will really be two buildings?
These studies and their conclusions should be transparent and shared with the public. At the very least, it seems to me these studies should include and, at a minimum, answer these questions before the district can determine the best location for a new elementary school.
1. What is the actual student population, concentration and growth projections?
2. What are the results of a district-wide traffic study to determine best school access points, bus routes and number of students riding?
3. Where will kids attending the school be bused to and from?
4. What grade configuration provides for the best possible education and how many sections of each grade level are needed?
5. What location will impact our wetlands, watershed and parks the least?
6. What location allows for future building, recreation and parking expansion?
7. What site impacts existing neighborhoods and their parks the least?
8. What are the expenses associated with infrastructure and new roadways?
9. Will any homes have to be bought or impacted by eminent domain?
Answers are needed.
Jan and W.M. Stalcup
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