Long Range Planning Committee May Update

Long Range Planning Meeting of May 13, 2019

Attendance:

Committee Members:

Melissa Cornell, Meredith Fagan, Robert Kraemer, Nicole Panton, Michael Satterlee, Jennifer Sponnoble, Jessica Stock, Dave Wood, and Kathy Zajicek

Consultants:

Alan Pole, Deb Ayers, and Bill Silky

Observers:

Joseph Sheperd, Rosemarie Sheperd, Nikki Lent, Ruthie Cook, Nancy Lisicki, Cory Cotter, Trish Kilburn, Chris Tallon, and Deb Ammann

Notes

1. Alan Pole started the meeting by thanking Nikki Lent for conducting the tour of the school for interested committee members.  The agenda for the meeting and meeting protocols were presented and reviewed as well.

2. Alan then reviewed the purpose of the study which is to answer the following question:

“Are there more efficient and effective options for organizing the district’s grades and schools to ensure a quality education for students while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers?  If so, what are these options?”

He indicated that this purpose will be shared at each meeting to keep the committee focused on what the Board has asked the consultants to accomplish.

3. Alan then reviewed the upcoming meetings schedule as follows:

Date

Topic

Location

January 14 General overview of the study process including the committee’s role; student enrollment projections JHS Library
February 25 Overview of the instructional program Pleasant Ave Library
April 8 Overview of facilities; Begin discussion of options Glebe St Library
May 13 The district’s transportation operation; discussion of options Warren St Library
June 10 Staffing patterns in the district; discussion of options Knox Jr High Library
July 8 The financial status of the district and exploration of future facility options JHS Library
August 5 Review of the draft final report JHS Library

4. The committee found no issue with the April 8 meeting notes.

5. Alan Pole provided a listing of “take-aways” from the last two meetings:

  • The Advisory Committee was formed to assist the consultants throughout the process, but the final recommendations will be the consultant’s.
  • The district has seen declining student enrollments and will likely continue to see enrollments drop.
  • The elementary instructional program is comparable across all three schools.
  • The Junior High School program is typical for a school district of this size. The High School Program provides many alternatives for students.
  • Class sizes in the junior high and high school are strong.
  • There are an extensive number of interscholastic athletic opportunities available to the students in Johnstown.
  • There is an abundance of space in the Johnstown school buildings
  • Room utilization at the high school is slightly below average
  • The leasing of Jansen Avenue to BOCES is approximately a break even proposition
  • Prior to the most recent capital project, the 2015 Building Condition Survey has identified approximately $38,000,000 worth of work to be considered

6.  Deb Ayers provided an overview of the district’s transportation program. The district has 10 in-district and 4 out-of-district bus runs. The district’s transportation program is operated by HFM BOCES and while Johnstown owns its buses, the transportation department staff members are BOCES employees. There is currently no bus replacement schedule in the district but one is being developed. The last bus was purchased in 2016-17 with the next purchase planned for 2020-21.

Johnstown operates a two-tier (double trip) system where the junior and senior high school students are picked up and taken home on the first run and the elementary students are picked up and taken home on the second run. The district uses a grade center plan for its elementary schools and there is a shuttle bus system in place to take students from their neighborhood school to their appropriate grade-level building. Should the district change its current building configuration, it would have little impact on the elementary bus runs. The addition of the 6th grade to the secondary bus runs will require further assessment.

7. The transportation presentation concluded with four big ideas or take-aways that Deb reviewed:

  • Addition of 6th grade to secondary bus runs would require further assessment
  • Most secondary runs not currently at full capacity
  • 57 current 4th graders (2020-21 6th graders) assigned to a bus route
  • May require route adjustments depending on location of 6th grade students

8. Bill Silky then led the committee in a discussion about possible options that should be considered by the district for the future.  He began by informing the committee that the process will first start by reviewing “feasible” (it could be done) options and then narrowing the list to “desirable” (it is a good idea) options. Bill shared some options that are possibly off the table that involve moving the 8th grade to the High School.  However, he indicated that the consultant team has not yet definitely concluded that the 8th grade could not fit in the High School and this will need further study.  Options still on the table were presented by Dr. Silky and included the following:

  • Option 1A: Remain As Is:  PK-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12 and renovate current buildings
  • Option 1B: Remain As Is:  PK-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12, reduce the number of elementary sections by increasing class size, and renovate current buildings
  • Option 2A: Move the 6th grade to Knox and create a 6-8 Middle School Model and close an elementary school (Glebe Street)-would result in a K-2 primary school at Warren Street with 17 classrooms (or 14 with increased class sizes) and a 3-5 intermediate school with 15 classrooms (or 13 with increased class sizes) at    Pleasant Avenue. Space would need to be found for the three PK classrooms.
  • Option 2B: Move the 6th grade to Knox and create a 6-8 Middle School Model and close an elementary school (Glebe Street)-would result in a K-2 primary school at Pleasant Avenue with 15 classrooms (14 if larger class sizes are adopted) and a 3-5 intermediate school at Warren Street with 17 classrooms (or 13 with larger class sizes).  Space would need to be found for the three PK classrooms.
  • Option 2C: Move the 6th grade to Knox and create a 6-8 Middle School Model and close an elementary school (Glebe Street)-would result in a PK-1 primary school at Pleasant Avenue with 13 classrooms (12 if class  sizes are increased) and a 2-5 intermediate school at Warren Street with 21 classrooms (18 if larger class sizes are adopted).
  • Option 2D: Move the 6th grade to Knox and create a 6-8 Middle School  Model and close an elementary school (Glebe Street)-would result in a K-2 primary school at Pleasant Avenue with 15 classrooms (14 if class sizes are increased) and a 3-5 intermediate school at Warren Street with 17 classrooms (13 if larger class sizes are adopted).
  • For All Option 2s Above:  Move the District Offices and the currently rented      Maintenance Facility to Glebe Street.

Bill then asked the committee members to discuss these options and add to the pros and cons of each option. He also asked each group to add any other options they felt the consultant team should explore.  At the end of this activity each group reported out. Bill said he would summarize their work and share it at the next meeting for continued discussion of the options.

9. The next advisory committee meeting will be held on Monday, June 10 in the Knox Junior School Library. An optional tour of the school will begin at 5:45 for anyone who is interested. The meeting of the advisory committee will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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