Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

Bemidji School District: Public forums to discuss classroom space options set

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts

news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Bemidji School District's Board of Education wants to hear from the community with ideas on how to gain more classroom space for the 2011-12 school year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

So far, the district has come up with nine options on how to deal with the current surge in kindergarten enrollment. During a work session Monday the school board narrowed the list to four options to be further researched.

The first option, re-configure grade levels, entails assigning grades kindergarten-4 to elementary schools, grades 5-7 to the middle school and grades 8-12 to the high school.

The second option is to build onto existing schools. Solway and Lincoln Elementary schools, for example, were originally built to be added onto. It was noted at the work session that J.W. Smith and Central Elementary Schools are already more than 50 years old.

The third option, construct a new elementary school, would likely require the school district to ask for voter-approval for a bond.

The fourth option, develop two early-learning centers, would mean remodeling the Paul Bunyan Center, 3300 Gillett Drive N.W., where the school district offices are currently held. A new early childhood learning center would have also have to be built.

Other options previously discussed by the board were having four-day school weeks, removing all-day, every-day kindergarten, having an extended school year, purchasing or leasing modular buildings and reopening Deer Lake Elementary School (located north of Bemidji, just east of state Highway 89 between Deer Lake and Long Lake).

The public forums will be facilitated by school board-members and will be organized by round-table discussions.

One school board member and one district administrator will be assigned to each discussion table at the forum. At the end of the evening, when the entire congregation is assembled, there will be a summary of the conversations that occurred from each table.

"That way, everyone hears everything, instead of one person standing up with a microphone and others don't get a chance to speak," Superintendent James Hess said. "The idea is to get the maximum amount of participation and to give everyone a chance to speak."

The public can attend any of the public forums and are not limited to a specific school forum.

At a work session held Monday, school board member John Pugleasa said board members will need to seriously to consider each option before making a decision.

"We're going to live with the decisions that we're making for a long time," Pugleasa said at the work session. "That's why I'd like to look at multiple configurations."

The school board plans to make a formal decision about how to deal with the need for more classroom space at its school board meeting in March.

Public forum dates:

E 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, Bemidji Middle School cafeteria, 1910 Middle School Ave. N.W.

E 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, Northern Elementary School commons area, 8711 Irvine Ave. N.W.

E 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria, 1617 Fifth St. N.E.

E 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, Bemidji High School commons area, 2900 Division St. W.

The Bemidji School District's Board of Education wants to hear from the community with ideas on how to gain more classroom space for the 2011-12 school year.

So , the district has come up with nine options on how to deal with the current surge in kindergarten enrollment. During a work session Monday the school board narrowed the list to four options to be further researched.

The first option, re-configure grade levels, entails assigning grades kindergarten-4 to elementary schools, grades 5-7 to the middle school and grades 8-12 to the high school.

The second option is to build onto existing schools. Solway and Lincoln Elementary schools, for example, were originally built to be added onto. It was noted at the work session that J.W. Smith and Central Elementary Schools are already more than 50 years old.

The third option, construct a new elementary school, would likely require the school district to ask for voter-approval for a bond.

The fourth option, develop two early-learning centers, would mean remodeling the Paul Bunyan Center, 3300 Gillett Drive N.W., where the school district offices are currently held. A new early childhood learning center would have also have to be built.

Other options previously discussed by the board were having four-day school weeks, removing all-day, every-day kindergarten, having an extended school year, purchasing or leasing modular buildings and reopening Deer Lake Elementary School (located north of Bemidji, just east of state Highway 89 between Deer Lake and Long Lake).

The public forums will be facilitated by school board-members and will be organized by round-table discussions.

One school board member and one district administrator will be assigned to each discussion table at the forum. At the end of the evening, when the entire congregation is assembled, there will be a summary of the conversations that occurred from each table.

"That way, everyone hears everything, instead of one person standing up with a microphone and others don't get a chance to speak," Superintendent James Hess said. "The idea is to get the maximum amount of participation and to give everyone a chance to speak."

The public can attend any of the public forums and are not limited to a specific school forum.

At a work session held Monday, school board member John Pugleasa said board members will need to seriously to consider each option before making a decision.

"We're going to live with the decisions that we're making for a long time," Pugleasa said at the work session. "That's why I'd like to look at multiple configurations."

The school board plans to make a formal decision about how to deal with the need for more classroom space at its school board meeting in March.

Public forum dates:

- 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, Bemidji Middle School cafeteria, 1910 Middle School Ave. N.W.

- 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, Northern Elementary School commons area, 8711 Irvine Ave. N.W.

- 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria, 1617 Fifth St. N.E.

- 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, Bemidji High School commons area, 2900 Division St. W.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness