Green Bay school board receives final recommendations for school closings, new elementary school

During the Task Force’s presentation, they gave their rationales behind why certain schools should close
During its seventh meeting held April 5, the GBAPS Task Force voted to move forward with this...
During its seventh meeting held April 5, the GBAPS Task Force voted to move forward with this schema that will now be voted on by the Board of Education. This is in part with the school district's 10-year facilities master plan to condense schools due to low enrollment.(Green Bay Area Public Schools)
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - After eight meetings of the Green Bay Area Public School Task Force, they brought its recommendation and full report to the Board of Education during its Work Session on Monday, May 8.

The Facilities Task Force recommended the following:

  • Close or repurpose 12 buildings
  • New west-side elementary
  • Three schools repurposed as 4K-8s:
    • Franklin
    • Langlade
    • MacAuliffe
  • West as high school with John Dewey Academy of Learning and a portion of District Office
  • Minoka-Hill moves to Lincoln
  • Leonardo da Vinci moves to Webster
  • Portion of District Office to another GBAPS building

Task force member Lavesa Glover-Verhagen said she thinks the task force did a good job to meet the needs regarding the district’s budget deficit and operational costs. She knows people are worried by or not pleased with the recommendations. “I feel for them. I feel that connection. I love our neighborhoods and I love our buildings, and it’s really hard to deal with, but it’s just the starting point, so I think it’s kind of taking a breath and then getting to that next point and allowing the work to continue to hopefully do what’s best for the entire educational community.”

In 2021, the District contracted with ATS&R to conduct a Facilities Masters Plan. Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, ATS&R evaluated each of the District’s facilities to create documentation regarding the building’s current and future structural/systems repairs and improvements, and an assessment of the school’s ability to meet today’s instructional needs. These scores are known as the Facility Cost Index and the Educational Adequacy Scores.

The Facility Cost Index scores came from reviewing all 42 buildings, detailed cost spreadsheets of high, medium, and low priorities, and a 30-year replacement plan for high-value items.

The scores for Education Adequacy came from space sizes per educational standards, future-ready learning environments, and capacity/utilization studies.

Some of the other reasons behind buildings being chosen for closing are the age of the building, building site size (room for additions), least recent investment, and low enrollment/small school (one-track).

Following its study, ATS&R developed three significant issues the District is facing: aging facilities, declining enrollment, and upcoming budget deficits. In the Task Force’s presentation, it was mentioned the District was facing a budget deficit of approximately $20 million for the 2024-2025 school year. The District is among the school districts with the lowest revenue limit and state funding has not kept up with the rise in inflation.

The task force also looked at the District’s operational costs. Decreasing capacity would decrease operational costs, so the funds can be spent on students and staff, instead of on repairing buildings. The goal was to reduce operational costs by a minimum of 10 percent.

The plan that the Task Force agreed upon results in a 13.5 percent savings in operational costs and increases the projected capacity in Green Bay in 10 years from 67 percent capacity to 74 percent capacity.

During the Task Force’s presentation, they gave their rationales behind why certain schools should close:

  • Beaumont
    • needed a gym addition
    • medium FCI/EA score
    • closed to decrease overall district capacity/improve overall utilization
    • close to Jackson, which is preferable to stay open
  • Leonardo da Vinci
    • many undersized classrooms
    • less than ideal layout for future-ready learning, portions were former convent/church
    • one of the oldest buildings in the district-1929
    • small site: limited green space, outside play area - must cross the street to the playground
    • combined gym/cafeteria is not desirable, but the site is too small for gym addition
    • does not have a full-sized Library Media Center
  • Doty
    • close to Langlade
    • edge of the district, Langlade is more central
    • closed to decrease overall district capacity/improve overall utilization
    • good FCI/EA score
  • Elmore
    • older original building - 1939
    • lower EA score/FCI score OK
    • closed to decrease overall district capacity/improve overall utilization
  • Keller
    • low enrollment
    • lower FCI/EA score
    • closed to decrease overall district capacity/improve overall utilization
  • Kennedy
    • requires a new gym to address the existing combined cafeteria/gym
    • Lower FCI/EA score
    • High FCI repairs needed
  • MacArthur
    • low combined FCI/EA score
    • non-repairable FCI issues
    • small site
  • Tank
    • low enrollment
    • low combined FCI/EA score
    • older building (original 1939, 1990 addition)
    • needed gym addition
  • Wequiock
    • low enrollment
    • one section capacity building
    • on the edge of the district
  • Washington
    • No on-site green space
    • older building (1939 original with recent additions)
    • Low EA score
    • High-priority roof replacement needs
    • will have longer-term exterior envelope repair needs
  • Minoka-Hill
    • no exterior green space
    • surrounded by bars
    • no gym (former office space)

On Tuesday, May 9, at West High School and Wednesday, May 10, at East High School there will be tabletop discussions held. Both discussions will begin at 5:30 p.m.

On May 24 at Washington Middle School, a public forum will be held to allow people three minutes to speak on the plan. The forum will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The board will hold a special meeting at 5:00 p.m. on June 5 in the District Office Building where they will vote on a final decision.