Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force raises representation concerns over GBAPS Facilities Master Plan

Diversity statistics are an issue
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 10:37 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Representation, equity, and proper communication. The three goals the Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force is asking for from the Green Bay Area Public School Board of Education prior to the June 5 vote regarding the 10-year Facilities Master Plan.

Friday evening, around 20-30 people gathered outside Washington Middle School, one of the schools that would close under the master plan, to address their concerns to the public.

According to Green Bay Area Public Schools District Fact Sheet, 31.5 percent of students identify as Hispanic. This number represents roughly 6000 students.

The fact sheet also listed Personalized Pathways. One of which is the Bilingual Pathways for Native English and Native Spanish Speakers. Five schools participate in this pathway: Baird Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Edison Middle School, and Washington Middle School.

Multiple parents spoke during the gathering, expressing concern for their children to go to Edison Middle School, claiming it is already crowded, and adding more students with the consolidation would make things worse.

Amanda Garcia is the Executive Director of Casa ALBA Melanie - A Hispanic Resource Center - and was a part of the GBAPS Task Force. She said she felt the whole process was very rushed.

Garcia said right away, she noticed there wasn’t a representation of the school and the student demographics. According to Garcia, there were three people of color on the facilities task force in a district that is 60 percent diverse.

She was immediately concerned about diversity statistics but was told to only focus on numbers and the budget based on the consulting firm’s findings.

“I did ask about student demographics towards the end of the process, and whether that was going to be addressed at some point,” Garcia said. “We were told that that was not what the consulting firm was looking at and that we needed to only focus on brick and mortar buildings and how to reduce the budget, which, throughout this process, I was thinking this is not a student or parent-centered approach.”

NEWLET Vice Chair Gabriela Parra said over the last few weeks, they have informed Latino families about the facility master plan by going door to door and using social media. She said this trust-building process was fostered by transparency and acknowledging their barriers.

Parra said parents she met with were unaware of the plan or had a vague idea from the information they received from their children.

“Parents want to collaborate with the District but this collaboration can only happen if barriers are removed and cannot happen overnight,” Parra said.

Garcia said a lot of the information online on the District’s website doesn’t represent other languages that exist in the district. She said she and other Latino leaders took it upon themselves to start educating families on not what to think, but letting them know that this was going to be a decision that was going to impact them.

“I have two children,” Garcia said. “One attends Howe Elementary, the other attends Wilder Elementary, and through this process, their schools are not affected. So I have no personal gain in being a part of NEWLET or questioning Schema 12.1. I am more concerned about my community, the Latino-Hispanic community, and how it will impact everyone overall. That’s really what brought us together. We were thinking about the impacts that will have on families. They’re at the heart of everything that we’re doing.”

On May 18, members of NEWLET met with school administrators to discuss postponing the June 5 vote. Garcia said it’s concerning that there was very limited community voice in the process. She said she left the meeting with more questions than answers.

“The final proposal, Schema 12.1, was proposed to the board on May 8, and they’re going to be voting on it on June 5,” Garcia said. “One month is not enough time for the district to communicate it to everyone, for all these factors to be considered, and for it to be a more equitable process.”

GBAPS released a statement Friday evening regarding NEWLET’s concerns:


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 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, or email the Board at

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.

En Español:

El Distrito de Escuelas Públicas del Área de Green Bay actualmente se encuentra en el proceso de abordar las instalaciones antiguas del Distrito, la disminución de la inscripción y el déficit presupuestario proyectado, con el objetivo final de que todos los estudiantes tengan acceso a instalaciones de aprendizaje modernas.

El 8 de mayo, un Grupo de Trabajo de ciudadanos presentó sus recomendaciones a la Junta de Educación después de un proceso de cuatro meses de revisión de datos de las instalaciones, proyecciones de inscripción y costos asociados con la reparación de escuelas. El mes de mayo se identificó como un momento para que la Junta escuchara los comentarios de la comunidad sobre las recomendaciones. Los días 9 y 10 de mayo se llevaron a cabo mesas de discusión comunitarias. Se llevará a cabo una sesión de escucha el 24 de mayo en Washington Middle School. Habrá intérpretes disponibles. Se alienta a los individuos que no puedan asistir al foro público a completar el formulario de comentarios o enviar un correo electrónico a la Junta a

El 18 de mayo, dos miembros de la Junta de Educación, la Superintendente Interina Vicki Bayer y miembros del equipo administrativo se reunieron con miembros del Grupo de Trabajo Educativo Latino del Noreste de Wisconsin (NEWLET, por sus siglas en inglés). Durante la reunión, los representantes del Distrito compartieron que el trabajo del Grupo de Trabajo fue la primera parte del proceso del Plan Maestro para Instalaciones. El 5 de junio, la Junta de Educación votará durante una reunión especial de la Junta sobre qué recomendaciones les gustaría que la administración explorara más a fondo. El próximo paso será considerar los cambios de límites, la programación y la demografía escolar, con un enfoque en la equidad en cualquier posible cierre de escuelas o movimiento de estudiantes en el futuro. Las partes interesadas seguirán participando en el trabajo, ya que la Junta se compromete a garantizar un proceso transparente que incluya todas las voces. El año escolar 2023-24 es un año de planificación, y el año escolar 2024-25 sería el más pronto que se podrían implementar cambios.

“I am the daughter of immigrants from Mexico so this is personal to me,” Garcia said. “I represent all families, especially Latino families in the district and I’ve seen time and time again when their voice and their perspective are not considered in the decision-making processes. This is not the first time that this has happened. It’s happened over and over and over again. With a decision that is this big, that will impact close to 5000 families in our district, it’s not acceptable to just take it as is and move on based on budget. We understand that budget is an issue. Let’s work together and find solutions.”