Master Planning and Visioning Subcommittee Tackles Action Plans

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Thursday October 12, 2017

At the October 4 school board meeting, an update was given on the work of the master planning and visioning subcommittee. The subcommittee, which is made up of board members Bridget Burkhardt, Martin Lalonde, and Steve Wisloski, last met September 13. In the public portion of the meeting, it was decided that the three would divide their current work plan and each would work directly with the administration on a specific portion. Some of the work currently in progress includes noise testing at Chamberlin School, district participation in a Noise Compatibility Plan Technical Advisory Committee at the airport, and review of the top two RFP’s (request for proposals) submitted by architectural firms for identification of upgrades to the high school and middle school, for which $40,000 was allocated in the current year budget.

The work this subcommittee is undertaking was approved via a resolution passed by the board in December 2016 which contained four action items related to master planning and visioning. These include identifying needed upgrades at the high school and middle school no later than June 30, 2018, setting up a system to monitor impacts on the district’s ability to maintain/improve upon K-5 education and providing documentation by September 1, 2017, investigating threats to health and education at Chamberlin and creating a contingency plan by December 31, 2017 to ensure equitable delivery of education should Chamberlin need to close. Revitalizing the district’s strategic plan by evaluating current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) by December 31, 2018 is also an action item. Given budget defeats and the teacher contract negotiation process, at least one of these timelines has needed to be shifted, but work is continuing at a pace which is brisk yet thoughtful.

Although there were no funds in the FY ‘18 budget for a study on relocation of students if Chamberlin has to be closed in order to ensure equitable delivery of education, the subcommittee is exploring options nonetheless. There is a threshold analysis of space options underway but much work needs to be completed in this area. Current options being researched include new construction of an entire school, new additions to current schools, modular or portable classrooms, and leased space.

Key to determining whether this is or would be necessary is evaluation of the noise information recently received from the airport. The information was received September 25 and then forwarded to ATC, an independent testing group, who will undertake a deeper dive on this data at a cost of $3,000. This step’s funds have not yet been board approved.

An additional item the subcommittee will be studying is the work by McKibben Demographics, which will be reviewed at the end of October or early November. A final projection and report will be produced after the State Average Daily Membership reports have been tallied in November. Former Business Manager John Stewart and Bridget Burkhardt will work jointly to disseminate this information. All of the above were designed as an informational report to the board and each of the items being undertaken carries with it different levels of cost, complexity, and permitting, among other approvals. In the coming months, regular updates will be provided at each board meeting as work moves forward.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent