GBAPS District recommends Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Learners be removed from closing resolution

The Green Bay Area Public School District’s master plan gets an update that will change the future of one school.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 12:05 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Area Public School’s 10-year Facilities Master Plan originally called for closing some schools, and moving the locations of others, in order to save money due to declining enrollment, aging facilities, and projected budget deficits.

Wequiock Elementary School was the first school the board voted to close beginning next school year.

Moving Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Learners to Webster Elementary was another possibility discussed; however, during the board’s work session Monday evening, the District is recommending keeping da Vinci school at its current location on the east side of downtown Green Bay.

Superintendent Dr. Claude Tiller said moving the students and/or the school would not serve the district’s overall goals of addressing aging facilities, declining enrollment, and projected budget deficits.

The District pointed to several reasons for the change, saying it couldn’t justify the move, as it didn’t fit the guidance listed in the master plan.

  1. The resulting plan should respect recent investments and prioritize the utilization of the newest facilities.
    1. Dr. Tiller respected that there has been a recent investment in Leonardo da Vinci School and a move to Webster Elementary would require additional investments into Webster.
  2. The resulting plan should target reducing operational costs by 10 percent.
    1. Dr. Tiller said moving da Vinci to Webster does not create any long-term savings
  3. Any boundary revisions associated with proposed school consolidations should, as much as possible, minimize change for Green Bay area students, families, and district operations.
    1. “Since Leonardo da Vinci is a school with no boundaries, keeping da Vinci in the future task force efforts in boundary study only provide a long-term uncertainty for the da Vinci students, staff and families would seem unnecessary,” Dr. Tiller said.

The board will take a vote during its regular meeting on September 25 to decide the fate of the Leonardo da Vinci School.

Dr. Tiller announced during the work session that in October the district will bring its recommendation for the potential closure of Tank Elementary to the board.

He also mentioned preliminary design work has begun for transitioning the John Dewey Academy of Learning and/or the District Office to West High School and a request for a proposal process for architectural design has begun for a new west side elementary school. The new elementary school would be a larger school that would comprise smaller elementary schools.

Meanwhile, the board discussed an update to the charter for the Community Advisory Committee, which outlines the committee’s mission, membership qualifications, and responsibilities.

“Building the future of Green Bay Area Public Schools on a foundation of trust and equity is the only way it will pass the test of time,” Suamico resident Maria Lara said.

Vice President James Lyerly said the terms “equity” and “diversity” have been reworked into the purpose statement of the charter.

“This {Community Advisory Committee} was born out of a resolution where we are looking to make sure that any of the changes to the district’s boundaries in support of a 4K-8 go through an assessment and make sure that demographics and transportation requirements don’t overly impact one population over another,” Lyerly said.

The Community Advisory Committee will potentially decide the fate of other school buildings on the verge of closing following results done by a consultant group.

Two potential consultant groups who would lead the boundary and equity analysis will make presentations to the board on September 19.

A meeting tonight will discuss the future of some Green Bay area schools.