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April 15, 2019
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D. 202 Board Approves New School as part of Full Day Kindergarten Plan

April 15, 2019 (9:10 p.m.)

District 202 Education Partners,

The Board of Education tonight voted 5-2 to approve building an 18th elementary school to help create enough space to offer full-day kindergarten to all eligible students.

Board members Heather Drake and Dr. Michael Robey voted no. They both stressed that they support the concept of and need for full-day kindergarten, but questioned the project's costs and preferred getting more information about other options.

The District 202 community has identified full-day kindergarten as a high priority for many years. However, the 17 current elementary schools do not have enough space to accommodate the estimated 1,500 students who would be eligible.

As well, unique space requirements for various special education, early childhood and at-risk programs also limit the room available for full-day kindergarten.

Therefore, as a compromise for the last three years District 202 has offered a limited full-day kindergarten program through a computerized random lottery to 24 students per elementary school -- 408 students in all.

That limited full-day program will continue until the new school opens.

We will share much more information in the coming weeks and months, but for now, here are the:

KEY POINTS

  • The new building will be a full-service, K-5 elementary school.
  • It will be similar in size and design to the last few elementary schools built in during the district's heavy growth period.
  • It will house about 800 students.
  • It will be built on land the district already owns (the exact site has not yet been determined.)
  • It will take two to three years to build.
  • The new school will stabilize space requirements and assignments for several specialized programs that currently move to different buildings based on need and available space.
  • The new school will cost about $25 million. However:
    • The District will use a special "leasing" option and pay the bank $2.5 million a year for 10 years;
    • After 10 years, the district will take ownership of the property;
    • Personnel and operational costs will add about $2 million a year.

***The district will not have to increase tax rates to pay for the new building. Individual tax bills may increase based on individual property values, but the district’s tax rate will not increase because of this project. 

  • Administration will continue to monitor early childhood and special education space needs and programming and adjust as needed as the new building opens.
  • The district will adjust attendance boundaries as needed when the project nears completion to ensure equitable programming and enrollment at all elementary schools.

Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who shared comments and suggestions with the Board of Education and Administration. Your input is valued and was greatly appreciated.

Have a good evening.

Tom Hernandez

Director of Community Relations

 

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