Task Force

Task Force Calendar 18/19

  • All meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Pierce County Skills Center unless otherwise noted.

     

    • September 18, 2018
    • October 18, 2018
    • October 25, 2018
    • November 15, 2018
    • December 13, 2018
    • January 10, 2019
    • January 31, 2019
    • February 21, 2019
    • March 12, 2019 (School Board Meeting, 7 p.m. at ESC)

Task Force Updates

  • October 25, 2018 - November Bond Election looms as Task Force weighs alternate options

    The community-led Long Range Facilities Task Force met again this week to continue their discussion of alternative options to a successful November School Construction Bond to help solve the overcrowding issues our district is facing.

    Before they began their conversations around the evening’s possible solutions to overcrowding — which included changing a middle school to an elementary school and turning all elementary and middle schools into a K-8 model — they examined data about portable classrooms in the district.

    Currently our district has over 200 portable classrooms in use.

    Double portables — containing two classrooms — cost approximately $150,000 or $85 per square foot. But when you add in the cost of site preparation; utility and technology connections; fire and intrusion alarm wiring; student furniture; permits, architects and engineering time; and aluminum ramps, the cost jumps to approximately $600,000.

    Even with the high cost, there are other reasons an infinite supply of portables isn’t a long-term solution. Currently, there is only room to site 16 more portables in the entire district. Once those spaces are filled, the only remaining option would be to place portables on sports fields, which would have a huge impact on sports; not to mention the additional demand those students would put on the common areas (including bathrooms) in the main buildings.


    The Task Force weighed many alternative options, looking at long term solutions versus near term. Some options on their own wouldn’t solve the district’s overcrowding problem, but a selection of smaller changes, could add up to be a larger fix.

    The idea of utilizing classrooms at adjacent school districts fell by the wayside, as all our neighboring districts had been contacted and had no space to spare. They were all dealing with crowded conditions as well, but many had recently passed bonds and were already building new schools.

    The Task Force will meet again after the November 6 election.

     


    October 18, 2018 - Task Force explores multi-track, year-round school calendar

    The Long Range Facilities Task Force met again this week to continue planning for alternate options if the November School Construction Bond does not pass.

    Year-round, multi-track schools and “double shifting” were discussed at length, along with the pros and cons of distance learning, and using the Bethel Learning Center or local colleges for classroom space.

    As part of their research on alternative school schedules, the Task Force watched a video about what a multi-track, year-round school schedule looks like in the Washoe County School District in Nevada that has had to implement it to “relieve severe overcrowding."

    The Task Force worked to define their concerns about the alternative schedules and will conduct interviews with other districts that are currently using, or have implemented the schedules in the past.

    This was just the beginning of the discussions on multi-track, year-round schools and double shifting. Both will be discussed at every Task Force meeting going forward. Other topics scheduled for discussion at future meetings include:

    October 25

    • Change middle school to elementary school
    • Partner with adjacent school district
    • Use parts of middle schools for elementary
    • Turn all elementary schools into K-8

    November 15

    • Turn all middle schools into grades 5–8 or 4–8
    • Repurpose commercial site
    • Close Elk Plain School of Choice and change to elementary
    • Double Shifting option: A&B days

    The Task Force will meet again next week, and then will reconvene after the election. Even if the November bond passes, the Task Force will continue as the need is urgent and a school will take about three years to design, permit and build.

     


     September 19, 2018 - Looking for the best of the worst case scenarios

    For many of our students, school starts pretty early. As winter approaches and the days get shorter, our headlights pick up the silhouettes of kids waiting at bus stops in the early morning hours. But what if school started even earlier?
     
    Pajama Day, every day
     
    “Double Shifting” is one idea currently being explored by the Long Range Facilities Task Force to help combat overcrowding in the event the November bond does not pass.
     
    In a double shifting model, half of a school’s student population would attend from roughly 6 a.m. to noon, and the other half would attend from noon until 6 p.m. In this scenario, you can only imagine what time the buses would have to roll to start picking kids up in the morning. One parent said, “In my house it would be like pajama day, every day.”
     
    “Blue Light Special” on education
     
    In preparation for the first Task Force meeting, district administrators prepared a list of possible educational models that would help take the pressure off of our overcrowded schools. With a successful November bond being “Plan A,” this list of “Plan B” scenarios included everything from multi-track, year-round schools to the idea of leasing local commercial spaces to use as classrooms. Specifically mentioned was the old Kmart building on Pacific Avenue and 176th.
     
    As the first meeting began, Task Force members added their own ideas to the mix, including having elementary schools utilize available classroom space at nearby middle schools, using property at other districts, and online learning options.
     
    That was followed by a spirited discussion that included a brainstorming session looking at potential impacts and pitfalls of each of the scenarios in question. The Task Force left no stone unturned, requesting more information on the impact to academics, staff recruitment and retention, maintenance, transportation, food services, traffic, and family schedules under each proposed model, as well as the financial impact on the district.
     
    Another big topic that was broached was the impact on athletic programs under the new models, specifically in regards to year-round schools and double shifting.
     
    The next task force meeting will be held in mid-October. Prior to that, the district will be gathering information and finding answers to many of the questions proposed by the Task Force so they can continue their discussions and decision making as they move forward, planning for the worst.
     

    September 16, 2018

    Members of the Long Range Facilities Task Force will reconvene this week to study future options to ease the overcrowding in our schools if November's School Construction Bond does not pass.

     

    Former members of the Task Force will join new members, selected from a recent application process which resulted in an overwhelming amount of community interest, due to the parental impact of the options being considered.

     

    Specifically the Task Force will look at multi-track year-round schools, double shifting, repurposing commercial sites into schools, leasing classroom space at adjacent districts, turning a middle school into an elementary school, and converting Elk Plain K-8 back to a K-5 configuration to free up space for more elementary students.

     

    The Task Force will analyze the impact of these options, both financially and otherwise, on the district. This will include the impact on transportation, food services, maintenance, building capacity, staffing, and the impact on the community – daycare, family schedules, vacations, etc.

     

    After their first meeting we will be sure to update you on their progress.