GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A Latino task force is pushing back on recommendations made to reshape the Green Bay Area Public School District long-term.
GBAPS is set to undergo a massive change.
Enrollment is dropping, and buildings are aging.
"We understand that they're on a time crunch," Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force Chairperson Amanda Garcia said. "We understand there are budget concerns."
Nearly two weeks ago, a facilities task force recommended to the Board of Education that 12 buildings — including 11 schools — be closed or repurposed.
The school board is voting on what direction to take on June 5.
But Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force — or NEWLET — is asking the school board to stop the vote until families have been made aware of the changes.
"We want a more equitable schema that will consider various factors, not just the budget and the brick-and-mortar of our buildings," Garcia said.
NEWLET was formed just last month in response to the recommendations made.
"Demographics were not considered," Garcia said. "It wasn't student or parent-centered."
Garcia was also one of 26 people on the facilities task force.
The facilities task force recommended that Doty and Tank elementaries, and Washington Middle, to close.
"It doesn't even begin to consider the mental health impacts that it will have on students that have to leave their area or will have to lose their circle of friends," Garcia said.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Doty, Tank, and Washington schools are all majority Latino.
- 58.5% of Doty's student enrollment is Hispanic/Latino
- 60.1% of Tank's student population is Hispanic/Latino
- 50.4% of Washington's student enrollment is Hispanic/Latino
On Friday, NEWLET members and families came together at Washington Middle School reiterating their message in Spanish and English.
Most people wore shirts saying, "Stop Schema 12. Ensure Equity for Everyone."
One eighth grader who goes to Washington gave her thoughts.
"It would be more difficult for us to come to get to school, because most of us usually walk in the morning," she said.
The School District tells NBC 26 that once the board makes its decision on the recommendations, the next step will consider boundary changes and demographics while focusing on equity.
GBAPS sent NBC 26 the following statement:
"The Green Bay Area Public School District currently is in the process of addressing the District’s aging facilities, declining enrollment, and projected budget deficit, with the end goal of all students having access to modern learning facilities.
On May 8th, a citizen Task Force [gbaps.org] presented its recommendations to the Board of Education after a four month process of reviewing facility data, enrollment projections, and associated costs with repairing schools. The month of May was identified as a time for the Board to listen to community feedback regarding the recommendations. On May 9 and 10, community tabletop discussions were held. A listening session will be held on May 24 at Washington Middle School. Interpreters will be available. Individuals unable to attend the public forum are encouraged to fill out the feedback form [docs.google.com], or email the Board at email@example.com.
On May 18, two Board of Education members, Interim Superintendent Vicki Bayer and members of the administrative team met with members of Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force (NEWLET). During the meeting, District representatives shared that the work of the Task Force was part one of the Facilities Master Plan process. On June 5, the Board of Education will vote during a Special Board meeting on which recommendations they would like the administration to explore further. The next step will be to consider boundary changes, programming and school demographics, with a focus on equity in any potential future school closings or movement of students. Stakeholders will continue to be engaged in the work, as the Board is committed to ensuring a transparent process that includes all voices. The 2023-24 school year is a planning year, and the 2024-25 school year would be the soonest any changes could be implemented."
According to U.S. News & World Report, 60 percent of Green Bay's student population is diverse. More than 30 percent of students enrolled in the District are Hispanic or Latino.