Madison Elementary students gave a presentation on the monthly Big Huge Math Challenge at the USD 231 Board of Education meeting on Feb 8. Staff photos by Rick Poppitz

Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
At the USD 231 Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12, Rob Schwarz, CEO of RSP and Associates, presented updated enrollment projections and reviewed the boundary study process and timeline.
For the district overall, a 12 percent increase (750 students) is projected over the next five years.
In 2017, the numbers show that 100 residential homes equals 57 students. The charts showed that rate has increased every year for a long time – in 2001 it was 46 students per 100 homes.
Schwarz shared a series of maps to show district boundaries and where student populations are most and least dense. The maps show red hot spots, indicating where student populations are concentrated, and corresponding with residential housing developments.

The Pledge of Allegiance at the Feb. 8 Board Of Education meeting was led by Madison Elementary students Victoria Emann, Isaiah Johnson, Isabella Culross, McKenzie Griffin, Jayden Kasper, and Tyler Valenti.

The study takes into account new development that eventually will add 300 new homes south of I-35 (Tuscan Farms).
The study also details current and projected enrollment for each school building individually and identifies two schools that are at capacity now – Madison Elementary and Nike Elementary.
A third building, Gardner Elementary, will reach capacity by 2021.
“It doesn’t get any better, with where the boundaries are today and what’s forecasted over the next five years,” said Schwarz.
Schools that do have capacity for growth are Edgerton Elementary, Grand Star Elementary and Moonlight Elementary.
“So we have some available capacity. It doesn’t appear that we need a building. We need to realign our boundaries so that it plans for what the future might be with each of these buildings and the available capacity and the programming that takes place,” he said.
Schwarz then described the process that would take place should the board decide to re-align boundaries.
The process would begin with board direction to form/assign a committee to study the issue. The committee would have a series of four meetings. After the third meeting, a public meeting would be held to gather public input on the ideas the committee is forming. In the fourth meeting, the committee would finalize a plan to address building capacity for presentation to the school board.
The consultant, RSP, will guide and coordinate the entire process.
Shawn Carlisle, board member, suggested the public meeting be after the second committee meeting instead of the third. After discussion he made that a motion and the board approved.

Also at this meeting
• The board approved a $108,214 contract with Brown Midwest Construction for Wheatridge Middle School Football Field Renovations.
• Shawn Carlisle, board member, asked for board consent to form a committee to look into the cost and scope of work that would be required to record board of education meetings. The board approved.
• Pam Stranathan, superintendent, noted that the seven students from the advanced technical center were the first to receive certification as part of the engine mechanical repair class.
• Greg Chapman, board member, said he would like to see a committee formed to monitor the youth sports program. He said he would submit a written request for this, as policy requires. The board president and superintendent would have to approve that request and submit it to a committee, which would then recommend if the board should consider forming a committee to oversee the youth sports program.