Delano School District will not set timetable to reintroduce new school to voters

May 12, 2008

Members of the Delano School Board decided to not set a timetable of asking voters for funds to construct a new building at a special meeting last Monday.

At the meeting, discussion took place about the outcome of the April 22 election. Voters agreed to the costs of land acquisition, but did not approve construction costs for a building on that land.

The board discussed several options regarding what to do with the buildings on the land that is being purchased, according to Superintendent Dr. John Sweet.

One option would be to rent out the two sites that contain houses. The second option is to put the buildings up for sale to be removed from the site.

The bond sale for the $980,000 purchase that was authorized by the election is tentatively scheduled for Monday, June 9, Sweet said.

The closing on the property will follow in mid-July. The board will continue to discuss what to do with the structures in the meantime, Sweet added.

The board also discussed the future direction regarding the overcrowding that is taking place in all three buildings.

The consensus of the board is not to set a timetable to re-introduce the need for a new school to the voters, Sweet said. It was noted that this does not alleviate the overcrowding issues, that are especially acute in the high school and middle school.

“The administration will need to prepare options to managing the negative impact that overcrowding can have on academic excellence,” Sweet said, adding that some options that are currently being discussed include:

• The high school is short on science classrooms. This problem will be further exasperated in the near future when the state requires additional credits of science. One solution to this is to create a 0 hour or early bird period for certain classes to begin before the regular school day at 7 a.m.

• Shared facilities with the middle school, such as music, are at maximum capacity. This could lead to a change in the philosophy of not limiting the number of students in choirs.

• The cafeteria, another shared space with the middle school, is more than full, which could lead to three lunch periods for the high school, which would mean an earlier or later lunch schedule.

• The high school has some space issues relative to housing certain special education programs that the school board foresees beginning in 2009.

• The middle school may begin utilizing the auditorium for social studies classes as enrollment continues to increase. This is the only available space during the school day.

There will be one less section of fifth grade in 2008-09 due to a smaller class, which will allow one room to be available for at least one year, Sweet said. This space may be utilized for general music classes.

Parking issues also a concern for students, staff

A major issue that impacts both the middle school and high school is parking.

There are approximately 250 spaces allocated to students, Sweet said. That number has not changed since the reconstruction project was completed in 2002, and there were approximately 293 juniors and seniors.

This year, there are about 385 juniors and seniors, plus sophomores who gained driver’s licenses during the school year, Sweet said.

Next year, there will be more than 400 juniors and seniors. To make room for staff and visitor parking next year, the number of student permits will probably be limited to fewer than the 250 spaces that have been allocated.

More of the public has an interest in accessing the Tiger Activity Center during the day, which further stresses parking, Sweet added.

The elementary will begin converting its multi-purpose rooms to classrooms, which leads to a loss of meeting space, space for book fairs, art fairs, and other events.

As sections are added, stress is placed on the gym for physical education. There will be one added section of fourth grade in 2008-09 due to a larger class than this year.

Early childhood programs housed at the elementary may move to the Community Education building in the future.

“The district will continue to assess and address the facilities issues with our focus statement always in mind: ‘Educational Excellence is our Foremost Goal,’” Sweet said.