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Info from Board mtg. on proposed elementary changes

by Community Relations

Posted on 6/27/2017

people at board meeting
Roughly 150 residents attended tonight's School Board meeting to express their opinions about the Elementary Facility Committee recommendations.

About 25 people spoke in favor of the positive environment and educational experiences their children have in various Bismarck Public Schools. They made the following requests:
•Have an architect look at Northridge and put equity money into that school.
•Remove the Northridge to Will-Moore boundary change recommendation until a plan is developed for Northridge.
•Grandfather-in existing families to remain at Sunrise and have new families go to Miller under the proposed boundary change.
•Preserve existing schools as anchors in neighborhoods so the central part of the city doesn't get "hollowed out".
•Build a new school up north first to relieve pressure there, and maybe add some sections to Highland Acres, Grimsrud and Centennial.
•Don't ask north parents to drive past Liberty and Centennial to attend Grimsrud if that school is expanded.
•Look at school crossing and transportation issues, particularly if Grimsrud and Centennial are expanded.
•Investigate cost of portables versus adding on to schools.
•Review the size-of-school efficiency rates and how the district could make up the cost difference for students who attend smaller schools versus larger, more efficient ones.
•Describe which schools any future, long range growth would be assigned.
•Outline a timeline for making decisions on elementary schools and boundaries.

The Board thanked the Elementary Facility Committee for its work, which can be found at The Board did not give the committee any parameters for recommendations except to not increase property taxes or ask for another bond to build or add on to schools. Scott Halvorson said it sometimes comes down to revenue and he doesn't like property tax increases. President Matt Sagsveen assured the crowd that this is the beginning of a long and detailed process. Vice President Karl Lembke (lehm-key) noted that the school district as a whole has enough room for elementary students in the next 5 years but the seats are not in the right spots, which provides the district with challenges and opportunities to be creative. Heide Delorme said the board won't make any rash decisions and "we're all in this together." Rick Geloff says he's looking forward to hearing other ideas.

At its next meeting on July 10, the School Board will review and decide on plans for moving forward on boundary meetings with school communities.