Prescott Schools: Fact or fiction?From the Prescott School Superintendent, Roger Hulne, addressing space needs for Prescott schools and snow days in June.
By: By Roger Hulne, Prescott School Superintendent, Pierce County Herald
PRESCOTT—As the Prescott community explores options for addressing the space needs of the Prescott School District, we often hear a number of perceptions about the recommendations.
In order to fully address the needs in the district—and the entire community—we need to make sure we sort out fact from fiction. My goal over the next couple of weeks is to address some of the comments that are surfacing with the facts:
Fiction—Prescott enrollment is not increasing. Fact—The truth is, the Prescott area population is steadily growing and school enrollment reflects that growth.
Prescott enrollment trends have steadily increased by approximately 16 percent since 2000. Much of that growth is at Malone Elementary School, where enrollment has increased by 26.8 percent in the past seven years, or 125 students.
The Applied Population Laboratory at UW-Madison completed a population trend study in January 2013. Based on census records and local government data, they project enrollment will increase by 8.3 percent over the next five years, with a strong increase in middle school and high school enrollment.
While our existing buildings are well maintained, they are near or exceeding intended capacity levels.
—Malone enrollment is 585 with intended capacity of approximately 500;
—Middle school enrollment is 275 with intended capacity of approximately 300;
—High school enrollment is 360 with intended capacity of approximately 450.
When building a new school, the industry rule of thumb for square feet per student is:
—Elementary school, 150-200 square feet per student;
—Middle school, 200-250 square feet per student;
—High school, 250-350 square feet per student.
Here is how Prescott compares to a few neighboring districts on elementary space per student:
—(Square feet per student) Malone, 101; Ellsworth, 116; River Falls, 128; Somerset, 143; Baldwin-Woodville, 161; Hudson, 167; St. Croix Central, 168; New Richmond, 179; Amery, 240.
Community members have suggested a facilities solution addressing a broad range of needs from preschool to senior citizen. The facilities committee recommended an option to provide space for multi-generational learning at all ages, while addressing the immediate and future space requirements for educating our students. By building a new high school, facilities for community use can be included and grades can be reallocated between the existing buildings to provide the space needed for a continued quality education in Prescott now and in the future.
As our community moves forward in considering options for our school space needs, we all need to dispel the myths, and seek honest and well-planned solutions based on facts. In the coming months, there will be opportunities for community input and questions. We hope you will join the conversation.
Please take time to seek answers to your questions and provide the input needed to make any solution a true community effort. Information about the recommendation can be found on the school website at Prescott K12
PRESCOTT—We don’t often think about snow in June, but this year might be different.
The Prescott School District allows for two snow days when planning the school calendar each year. This year, we had three snow days—and the season is not over yet!
With that extra snow day, the district will have to determine how to make up that time for students and staff. Some options are to shorten Spring Break or extend the school year an extra day in June. If the school year is extended, the extra day will be added on Friday, June 7.
Although either solution may have an impact on students and staff, an adjustment will be necessary to comply with state law. State law requires that school cannot begin before Sept. 1. The school year was planned to end by June 6 this year to allow for summer school the following three weeks in June. Those limitations, along with Christmas and New Year’s falling on Wednesday did not allow for a week-long spring break this year.
Watch for updates on the calendar adjustment soon. For those who are already planning ahead into next school year, the 2013-2014 calendar can be found on the school website at www.prescott.k12.wi.us.