By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – There are no done deals.
That’s what Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld told the Green Bay school board Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the first of two meetings scheduled to discuss what’s next for Redesign 2020.
The board, along with district administration and two outside facilitators, met for about two hours Wednesday, Feb. 26, to lay the foundation for an extended discussion held Thursday, Feb. 27.
It discussed where the district has been, what the current and future enrollment realities are, and it agreed changes need to be made to address those realities.
Mike Stangel, executive director of facilities, gave board members an updated look at all 42 schools capacity verses enrollment, as well as three-, five- and 10-year enrollment projections.
On the west side, there are 935 open elementary seats – with all west side elementary schools’ enrollment for the 2019-20 school year below capacity.
The next steps for the board with Redesign 2020 is to look at the data and discuss the best options for the district moving forward.
The school struggling the most with enrollment and capacity is Keller Elementary School.
Keller, located on Bond Street near Taylor Street, has a capacity of 440 students with a current enrollment of 192 – leaving 248 seats empty.
Future discussion will focus mainly around Keller, John Dewey Academy of Learning and NEW School of Innovation.
Trustee Rhonda Sitnikau questioned how it was determined what the school board would discuss next in regards to Redesign 2020.
Langenfeld said these three particular schools have been selected for further discussion because of the urgency surrounding them.
“The discussion is really around leases running out, space for NEW School of Innovation as well as John Dewey Academy of Learning,” she said. “We know we have $2.5 million in referendum dollars that were earmarked for John Dewey, and we also know the enrollment at Keller will be changing because of Head Start moving. These are areas of priority that need to be addressed sooner than later.”
The board is being methodical with the process this time around – following an outcry from parents, teachers and community members with previous decisions.
The last board Redesign 2020 discussion was held in July 2019, which later led to the consolidation of Jefferson and Fort Howard elementary schools and the repurposing of the Jefferson building into a west side Head Start Learning Center.
This time around, the board was adamant about full transparency, with all stakeholders having a voice.
Information discussed at both meetings was released to the public ahead of time, and both meetings were recorded and will be made available for the public to watch online here – both of which didn’t happen at the July 2019 meeting.
The next step will be to hold community forums to get feedback. Those forums are not yet set.