GBAPS Board approves Gifted Learner Program to stay at Leonardo da Vinci School

Meeting on deciding to move a program
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:09 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:26 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - On Monday, the Green Bay Area Public School Board of Education voted 6-1 to approve the placement of the Gifted Learners Program at Leonardo da Vinci School.

The only person voting no was Bryan Milz. He said he thinks the program is strong and there is an opportunity to make it stronger in a building that fits the program better.

The original recommendation was to move the Gifted Learners Program from the da Vinci School to Webster Elementary and re-purpose Webster as a gifted school.

“This whole program that we have been working on is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to do things and make some systematic changes within the District as far as building opportunities,” Milz said. “I understand the strength the community members have currently with what’s at da Vinci, however, given that opportunity to provide the library space, the things that were mentioned in the ATS&R studies, the classroom spaces with slightly larger opportunities on there I think gives us the opportunity to look towards the students that will be there in 10 years and 15 years and that we have that opportunity to do this.”

According to the report done by ATS&R, they proposed to close and move the da Vinci School because of the following:

  • 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 not desirable, but site is too small for a gym addition
  • does not have a full-sized Library Media Center

At its last meeting on September 11, Superintendent Dr. Claude Tiller said the move would not help 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.

  • The resulting plan should respect recent investments and prioritize the utilization of the newest facilities.
    • 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.
  • The resulting plan should target reducing operational costs by 10 percent.
    • Dr. Tiller said moving da Vinci to Webster does not create any long-term savings
  • Any boundary revisions associated with proposed school consolidations should, as much as possible, minimize change for Green Bay area students, families, and district operations.
    • “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.

Vice President James Lyerly says while he agrees with Milz, he says the seven guided principles they gave the Facilities Task Force, don’t make sense in reference to moving the Gifted Learners Program to Webster Elementary.

“When we started looking at the spending to move and everything, ultimately I think having the guidance allows us to level the playing field and look at it holistically,” Lyerly said. “I just could not make a case for moving and reinvesting because there’s been a lot of investment in this building and I agree with you it’s not optimal right but it is in place, it is supported by the community of teachers and it’s adequate for the District.”

During Monday’s meeting, the Board selected Cooperative Strategies to assist them with the boundary and equity analysis not to exceed $125,000.

The Board approved a settlement offer for Government Entities Claims against JUUL. The amount of money given has been made confidential. In 2021, the school district joined a mass action lawsuit with other Wisconsin school districts against JUUL Labs.

Wisconsin received $14.7 million as part of a larger $438.5 million lawsuit among 33 states.