School board chooses grade 3-5 alternative
Baldwin School Board members took the first major step Monday night in addressing the district's needs for additional classroom space by choosing the grade 3 through 5 option for a new elementary school to be built in west Baldwin.
Board members have been discussing options for months as a result of suggestions from the architectural firm Frangkiser Hutchens regarding the district's space needs. There were also a series of public meetings to inform district patrons of the plans and the options.
The immediate need was shown to be at the elementary level and the options were a new K-5, a K-2 or a 3-5 building. The district recently purchased 92 acres of land south of U.S. Highway 56 and bordered to the west by Lawrence Street.
Board member Curtis Trarbach didn't waste any time with his opinion as Monday's discussion began.
"I think we ought to use the new land and build a 3-4-5 instead of a K-2," said Trarbach.
Board member Lonnie Broers took even less time to second Trarbach's motion.
"I agree with that motion for the simple fact that there wasn't a whole lot of people wanting another new (K-5) elementary school," said Broers. "All the kids should have the option to go through all the schools."
"People were pretty quick to say they don't want a line drawn through town," said Ed Schulte, board president, concerning how boundaries would have to be drawn to determine which kids went to which school if there was another K-5 building.
The board also discussed the possibility of moving sixth graders back into elementary school and out of the junior high, but not for long.
"I still think the middle school is a good concept," said Supt. James White. "I think we're doing the right thing by going with the three grade levels and the middle school."
Also discussed was the K-2 option at the new site. It was decided for many reasons, most importantly safety, that 3-5 was the better plan. It will be built for 350 students and the initial estimate is a cost of $7.5 million to $8 million.
"I'm trying to get the ball rolling on what we want to build on the new land," said Trarbach.
The motion passed 6-1, with board member Linda Rogers voting against. Rogers favored the K-2 building.
In other business, the board re-elected Schulte as president and chose Broers as vice president. It was part of the annual organizational items the board must do. Among other items, the Signal was designated as the district's official publication.
Board members were also presented with the initial budget figures for next year from White. He outlined the process that determines the budget, based on state aid of $3,870 per student. He is estimating an increase in enrollment of about 20 students. Through the formula the budget was shown to be $6,708,258.
The board also hired several people, including: Heather McCune, Marion Springs Elementary School at-risk teacher; Kim Sloop, Baldwin Elementary School summer school teacher; Joyce Tallman, BES summer school teacher; Kristin Hitchcock, BES summer school paraprofessional; Robin Elder, district parent educator; Angie Lewis, district parent educator; and Nick Harris, Baldwin Junior High School assistant girls basketball coach.
The board did not hire a baseball coach as expected.