Monday, June 02, 2014

My Stance on School Renovations & Equity Among the Schools

This post stems from a question I received on my Facebook Page.

"Why is CCPS the only school district in the state that has not made renovations to existing schools to increase capacity and/or make improvements that would improve educational equity throughout the system in over a decade? And, as an elected BOE member have you supported the decisions that have lead to what MSDE describes as a serious problem?"

Over the past decade, the elected board has been working closely with the county commissioners to meet the growth needs of the county and together the two groups have moved forward on five new schools.  Throughout this time, there has been continual maintenance on our facilities and systemic projects to address specific components of the schools.  J.P. Ryon Elementary School was our last completed renovation project and Dr. Mudd Elementary School was fully designed and partially funded in 2001.  At this time the commissioners asked the board to choose between the renovation project at Mudd and the new elementary school, Diggs Elementary School.  After Diggs was funded, Dr. Mudd renovations fell off the radar and never returned to the CIP because of the large demand for new capacity and several years of 400-600 new students per year enrollment growth.  Both the Board of Education and the Commissioners realized that the state had limited funding and jointly pursued the construction of new schools to try and accomodate the growing population.  In addition, the board has worked through several redistricting sessions to address capacity and growth issues.  Now that growth has slowed, the perspective is shifting to using the limited state funds to address renovations.  The commissioners agreed to fund a facilities condition assessment, which is being completed by GWWO Architects and will be presented to both elected bodies in the near future.  As part of the facilities condition assessment, the consultant has considered all of the options for renovations and additions while developing the suggested ten year capital improvement program.
As for the statement, “MSDE describes as a serious problem” .  I am not familiar with this quote.  In addition i am unable to substantiate the claim that we are the only school system who does not have a renovation in process.

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