GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Twelve.
That's the number of Green Bay school buildings a facilities task force is recommending be closed or repurposed to the school board.
The facilities master plan is being done to address the Green Bay Area Public School District's aging buildings, declining enrollment, and projected budget deficit.
The District is currently facing a projected $20 million budget deficit for the 2024-25 school year.
The task force said right now, school buildings are not used to capacity, and it could get worse.
According to the task force's presentation, with the District's projected enrollment in 10 years, one in three seats would be empty. Right now, one in four seats are empty.
So, in an effort to address these factors, the task force came up with closing or repurposing 12 school district buildings:
- Beaumont, Doty, Elmore, Keller, Kennedy, MacArthur, Tank, Wequiock, Washington, and the District Office would close.
- Keller, MacArthur, and Kennedy elementary schools would merge into a new west-side elementary on Kennedy's site.
- John Dewey Academy of Learning students and some District offices would move to West High School.
- Franklin, Langlade, and McAuliffe schools would be repurposed into 4K-8 schools.
- Minoka-Hill would move to Lincoln.
- Da Vinci would move to Webster.
- A portion of the District Office building would move to another facility.
The District has 42 schools.
Task force member Lavesa Glover-Verhagen spoke after the meeting, and was asked about those who might be concerned or disagree with the recommendations.
"I feel for them," Glover-Verhagen said. "I feel that connection. I love our neighborhoods. I love our buildings. And it's really hard to deal with, but it's just a starting point. So, I think it's kind of taking a breath, and then getting to that next point, and allowing that work to continue to hopefully do what's best for the entire educational community."
Amanda Garcia, who is also on the task force and the executive director of Casa ALBA Melanie — a Green Bay Hispanic resource center — raised concerns on how the task force's recommendations could impact the local Latino population.
Garcia is part of the Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force, which she said was formed just a few weeks ago.
"We feel there was a failure to acknowledge how the Latino population has grown dramatically since 2000, and that it is reflective of the exponential growth of students entering the District each year that identify as Latino," Garcia said. "The proposed solution doesn't account for the exponential growth on the east side, but rather penalizes the growth by displacing those students."
According to the District, the task force's recommendations resulted in 13.5% savings in operational costs and increases the projected capacity in ten years from 67% to 74%.
Parents and community members will have several opportunities to give feedback to the District before the school board makes its final decision.
The board is set to make a final vote on the task force's recommendations on June 5.
The full board meeting with the task force's presentation of recommendations can be found here.