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Green Bay School Board moving forward to further examine closing some schools

Posted at 12:26 AM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-06 01:26:15-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — On Monday night, the Green Bay community got a better idea of the future outlook of the Green Bay Area Public School District.

No final decisions were made by the school board, but leaders decided on what they want to explore further regarding the District's facilities master plan.

The District says the purpose of master planning its facilities is to address aging buildings, declining enrollment, and budget deficits.

GBAPS is currently projected to face a $20 million budget deficit by the 2024-25 school year.

During a three-and-a-half hour meeting Monday night, the school board approved three resolutions:

  • To direct staff to prepare a potential referendum question for board review by Nov. 1 regarding building a new school on Kennedy Elementary's site, downsize the elementary student population going to school on the west side, and move District staff and John Dewey Academy of Learning students to West High School.
  • To possibly close Wequiock Elementary, and relocate its students to Red Smith. These plans are also to be presented for board approval by Nov. 1.
  • To direct staff to take a deeper look at the community impact of repurposing Langlade and McAuliffe elementary schools, as well as Franklin Middle School, into 4K-8 schools. Under this motion, Elmore, Beaumont, and Doty elementary schools, as well as Washington Middle School and Leonardo Da Vinci School for Gifted Learners, would be considered to close. Webster Elementary would be modified.

The school board discussed another resolution where Tank Elementary would potentially close and its students would shift to Fort Howard Elementary, but the board elected to delay considering the motion until the June 26 meeting.

"My fellow board members, as we guide our community and most specifically our children through these needed changes, none of us wanted to be here," School Board President Laura McCoy said. "None of us."

Last month, a facilities task force recommended to the school board to close or repurpose 12 buildings, including 11 schools.

Ever since the facilities group released its recommendations, parents and community members have pushed back on the recommendations.

Recently, Washington Middle School held a public forum where several people advocated to keep Da Vinci and Wequiock schools open.

Da Vinci and Wequiock are on the facilities committee's recommended list of schools to close.

Last Friday, a Latino task force known as NEWLET, as well as Da Vinci and Wequiock parents, joined forces telling the school board to stop the vote.

"The amount of community engagement that has been spent on this has been beneficial," board member Bryan Milz said. "I mean, obviously, we have not seen eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I think everyone has been focused on what's best for children, and what's best for our students, and that energy needs to be spent on fully funding public education in this state."

In a memo from Interim Superintendent Vicki Bayer prior to the June 5 meeting, it said the school board must make decisions to address the projected budget deficit by January of next year.

More information from the June 5 meeting can be found HERE.