Investing in Every Student, Every School, Every Community
Considering the work of the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee and community input, Superintendent Chris Gdowski presented a $350 million bond proposal to the Board of Education on June 29, 2016. A bond is a voter-approved funding source that can only be used for capital improvements such as building repairs or new schools. The Five Star District last passed a bond in 2004.
Every school, including our district charter schools, will benefit from the proposed bond plan that reflects the community’s priorities.
Nearly half of the bond addresses the natural aging of our buildings, as well as renovating arts, theater, music and physical education spaces. The Five Star District currently has over $90 million in deferred maintenance, which increases as building components continue to age. Our priority is to keep our kids safe, comfortable and dry so that students have the best learning environment in every classroom, every day.
Constructing new buildings and renovating old buildings will address overcrowding across the district. The Five Star District has grown by over 4,000 students since we last passed a bond in 2004. Today, some schools and classrooms are too large and some families are driving or busing too far out of their neighborhoods to school due to enrollment caps. This also includes replacing old mobiles with school renovations and additions.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Our goal is to keep our kids safe, comfortable and dry so that students have the best learning environment in every classroom, every day. This includes safety systems to ensure protected classrooms and campuses such as upgraded security cameras, consistent security card access and consistent emergency protocol systems at all schools.
Addressing classroom needs to meet the requirements of 21st century learning, such as new desks, smart boards and education specifications. In the LRPAC proposal, each school would receive a certain amount of funds to use at their discretion to upgrade their instructional environment for the benefit of their students and community.
Increasing opportunities for all students to participate in innovative programming such as Career and Technical Education courses and Early Childhood Education. Currently, we have waiting lists for students due to a lack of space so investing in new locations and opportunities will provide more students across the district various pathways to success.
Technology needs are not just new computers, which often become outdated faster than schools can upgrade. Improving technology for a large school district includes installing a new districtwide Dark Fiber network, replacing control systems for facility management, upgrading districtwide wireless networks and replacing old phone systems for the entire district.
If the Five Star community decides to not invest in a bond to address critical districtwide needs, the likely outcomes are:
- Cuts will have to be made to educational programming at schools in order to pay for critical building repairs.
- Boundary changes will send students to schools that are farther away as a solution to overcrowding.