Getting elementary schools up to date possible, pricey, board is told|
|Antigo school district elementary schools could be brought up to 21st century academic standards, but it would require additions, extensive renovations and millions and millions of dollars.|
That was the message Charlie Schneider of CESA No. 10 brought to the board of education Tuesday, sharing the results of a $35,000 study commissioned by the panel that examined maintenance needs at the district’s nine schools.
The engineer noted that in February, he presented the board with a preliminary study that placed the costs of bringing the schools up to health and safety standards at $10 million.
“To make these buildings ready for education for the future is going to take more than that,” he stressed.
“If you heard anything I say tonight, hear this,” he said. “If you spend that $10 million, you’re going to have 1960s buildings that are going to educate students in a 1960s style.”
Under questioning from board member Clark Palmer, Schneider said that bringing the schools up to modern standards would require more space for everything from library services to collaboration.
“That $10 million won’t get you there,” he said. “You can do it within the buildings you have, but you’re going to need additions and a lot of remodeling.”
He said the cost of the renovations would approach those of constructing a new school, and questioned the payback.
Schneider said it is up to the board—not an independent consultant such as CESA No. 10—to determine the best use of dollars.
“Your worst schools are remarkably well maintained for their age,” he said. “You’ve kept the wheels on, now you need new wheels.”
Over discussion, board members seemed to be moving toward short-term renovations at one or two of the schools, including new roofs and replacing floor tiles that contain asbestos. Larger problems, including air handling concerns rampant throughout most of the elementary schools, would likely have to wait until next year, after design and bidding phases.
“No matter what we do, we’re going to have major renovations somewhere...make a couple good schools into really good schools,” Gary Jaje said. “Obviously there will not be any new schools built. That has been determined by the voters.”
The board accepted the report with no action. It has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, April 9 to consider what projects to pursue and how to pay for them. One likely source under consideration would be to take $500,000 from the district fund balance to address the most pressing needs.
“We all know what must be done,” District Administrator Don Childs said. “It’s a question of cherry-picking what we do.”
In other business, the board accepted an extensive second quarter academic progress monitoring report presented by building principals at a committee of the whole meeting earlier this month.
—Janet Fischer, special education teacher at the high school.
—Mary Neufeld, second grade teacher at West Elementary.
Sandra Nielsen, Title I instructional assistant at East Elementary.
—Michael Habert, third grade teacher at West Elementary.
—and Polly Koebe, math teacher at the high school.
Hirings include Melanie Rine, part-time human resource assistant and receptionist; and Tanya Paff, administrative assistant to director of business/building and grounds.
The board also received an update on the German American Partnership Program; inked 2014-15 service agreements with CESA No. 8 and No. 9; and looked at youth options requests.
There were also updates on the 2013-14 and 2014-15 budgets.
Following a closed session, the board issued preliminary layoff notices to two part-time and one full-time employee. The notices are common this time of year while budgets are being prepared and funding is yet to be determined.
FACILITIES REPORT—Charlie Schneider, left, director of CESA No. 10’s statewide facilities management division, discussed maintenance needs in Antigo school district buildings with members of the board of education Tuesday. Shown with Schneider are board members Jessica Meade, Joe Kretz, President Mike Boldig, Administrator Don Childs, Tim Fuller and Jim Schulz. Obscured are student representative Jacey Yonke, Clark Palmer and Beth Bockes.
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