School bond referendum Aug. 12: Best way forward?
Note: District 88 is seeking funds to build a new high school and remodel existing sites, with a bond referendum on Aug. 12. The following article is the third of five articles to address some questions about the referendum.
Q. What happens if the bond does not pass?
A. The district says it will continue to have space issues. At the Jefferson Elementary site, it would need to look at bringing in additional portable buildings for classes and space for movement. The current portable classrooms at the high school are entering their seventh year of use and continue to need maintenance resources to keep them usable. The district says it has to find spaces for students that are safe and provide a place for successful learning.
Physical education classes will continue to overlap at the high school, and the district will pay the City of New Ulm to rent space at Vogel Fieldhouse, say school officials. There would remain a shortage of field and gym spaces for the district’s five different levels of competition (7th, 8th, 9th, JV and varsity programs).
With one gym in the district, it would continue to shift practice schedules between boys and girls teams and the different levels of competition. Families would make multiple trips to get their student athletes to and from the different practice times, causing additional family stress.
The district would continue to spend resources on portable buildings, maintenance of older spaces and look for ways to combine classes that may end up larger than preferred because it has no space to put students.
Q. Would the projects benefit the community and other schools?
A. Updating schools to add spaces, updating program areas and adding athletic spaces will help all schools, say officials.
The benefit to other community and area schools is through shared programs offered in District 88 buildings and at athletic events, say educators. The district special education departments provide services for all students in the district, the public school offers high school elective courses for students from all of the schools, and the district partners with area schools in many athletic programs.
The district says it is planning community spaces in school buildings to be used for different events, community education classes and community organizations. Adding sports fields and gym spaces will help sports associations have more access to athletic facilities that currently do not exist, say school leaders. Other schools would have the opportunity to share field spaces with public school programs.
Increasing programs that reflect the community’s business and industry base would provide opportunities for students from all of the schools to participate, say school officials. The district mission is to provide opportunities for all students, state officials.
The City of New Ulm has a need to attract families who live in the community, take good jobs, provide a tax base to pay for services and become a part of the community, say school officials. A strong and relevant regional center of academic excellence will keep families in New Ulm and attract families to help New Ulm grow and prosper well into the future, say school leaders. New Ulm Schools can provide this, but the district needs facilities that meet student and community needs now and well into the future.