The Master Facility Plan Steering Committee, which has been working since October, presented its recommendation
to the BOE. The 20-member steering committee included community members, parents, BOE members and administrators working to craft a long-range direction that aligns district facilities with the district's educational vision. In its work, the committee reviewed detailed reports on school conditions, researched best practices in school facilities, visited other districts to see their solutions to space issues, and established guiding principles for facility improvements. MFP Committee members David Kennedy and Jim Piszczek presented the recommendation and rationale, which addresses both bricks and mortar and how school space is used:
· In the long-term, the district's 32 portable classrooms should be eliminated and all children should be housed within the school buildings. Portables can isolate children, erode instructional time as children travel to and from services, and cause safety and security issues. Furthermore, over time, portable costs can approach or even exceed those of permanent space.
· In the long-term, adequate and equitable small-group and resource spaces should be created and/or relocated. Some of this type of space exists, but is usually remote from the classroom. Providing sufficient small-group spaces and better integrating them into the general instruction classroom vicinity makes these crucial spaces more convenient, more flexible, more conducive to collaborative teaching and better able to support dynamic learning and instructional strategies.
· In the short- and mid-term, the BOE should determine which of the many pressing matters identified by the school site committees can be reasonably addressed, and implement an action plan for doing so.
Among the supporting documents provided to the BOE were two concept diagrams that illustrated how these recommendations could be implemented. One of these depicted enlarging the existing schools, and the other depicted building an elementary school at Spalding as well as modifying the existing schools. It also urged the BOE to continue its practice of involving the community as plans are further developed. The committee characterized its recommendation as a general direction. Although the recommendation was not specific enough to enable cost estimates, the recommendation emphasized the need for the solution to be consistent with community values and fiscally responsible.