Linden-Kildare CISD board makes decision to not consolidate campuses

Linden-Kildare Superintendent Keri Winters spoke about the L-K Board of Trustees decision to not consolidate the campuses. 

 “In looking at ways to save the district money, with our declining enrollment we considered the option of consolidating from three campuses to two,” said Winters.

The school board had a special closed executive meeting on Jan. 18 to discuss the possibility of campus consolidation.

The board made the decision to attrition teachers to have more appropriate student-teacher ratios, focus spending on maintenance priorities and revisit consolidation plans as the teacher to student ratios improve and watch enrollment changes. 

“There were several scenarios that we could consider.  The first scenario was moving the sixth grade to the elementary and the seventh and eighth grade to the high school. The junior high facility houses our transportation department as well as our baseball and softball fields.  This building would need to use utilities to maintain the campus.  If we decide to pursue this scenario, we would need to decide what to do with the building as far as tear it down, repurpose it, or find a buyer for it,” said Winters. 

Winters spoke about what the findings of the architectural company who studied the L-K campuses and the possible scenarios of moving grades to the other campuses at the Jan. 22 school board meeting. 

“We had an architectural company, Stantec, come in and do a data analysis of the utilization summary of each campus as it is.  Moving the sixth grade to the elementary campus is possible, but the 1951 portion of the elementary campus is in need of renovations that could be costly.  In addition, our cafeteria situation would not be ideal.  The lunches currently run from 10:45 – 1:10 with new groups rotating in every 15 minutes.  In order to serve additional students, lunches would have to start earlier or go later.  In addition, this would also add several more students for the drop-off and pick-up line which is already a problem.  Finally, our technology usage at the elementary school is already performing with moderate issues.  Adding an additional class of students could make these issues more severe,” said Winters. 

They looked at all the possible scenarios of moving students including moving the elementary students to the junior high campus.

“Another scenario was to move the elementary students to the junior high campus and still move the seventh and eighth grade to the high school campus.  Currently the capacity of the junior high building is 353 students.  We currently have 334 students at the elementary.  By combining the elementary and six grade, we will be over capacity,” said Winters. 

“The junior high campus is not secured like the elementary.  Students will be cutting through buildings on unsecured sidewalks.  Security fences and gates will have to be built or transferred.  All students must go to the main building to use restrooms.  This would put all grade levels moving together between buildings.  Another concern includes Hwy 59 traffic as well as issues with the driveway, parking, and bus lane at the junior high campus,” said Winters. 

“Included in the first two scenarios, the seventh and eighth grade moving to the high school campus also comes with its own set of challenges.  According to the data, in order to utilize the high school at full capacity, we could accommodate approximately 400 high school students,” said Winters. 

“According to the data, of the classrooms that are able to hold a full student capacity, 22 regular education classrooms are being utilized. There are five rooms used for auxiliary educational purposes such as Content Mastery, computer labs, band, and LifeSkills. There are four rooms not being used for academic purposes,” said Winters. 

“This demonstrates that the high school could accept approximately 200 more high school students to blend in the current classes. However, adding two younger grades into existing campus comes with different programmatic needs,” said Winters. 

“Cafeteria would have to serve four lunches to accommodate students. This means Jr. High would have to go to eight period days, which there are not enough classes to house eight periods. Or, high school would have to go to seven period days,” said Winters. 

There were many concerns about space, athletic periods, and practice time.

They were concerned about adding around 30 boys to a field house that only has seven empty lockers and adding about 30 girls to a gym that currently has one dressing room. 

Another concern was that the current equipment rooms are small. 

There would be one gym that five volleyball teams and eight basketball teams would be forced to share.  

The athletic period concerns were that they must be spaced out enough to allow the coaches to be in each one, not interfere with other extracurricular periods and not interfere with PE classes. 

Practices would be another major issue with campus consolidation. 

“We already have two basketball teams the junior high boys and high school girls that practice before school and two junior high girls and high school boys that practice after school.  In order to maintain this practice schedule the junior high gym would have to be used both before and after school, meaning those particular kids would have to find transportation to the high school each morning after practice and to the junior high each day after school,” said Winters.

Winters spoke about the square footage findings of the current campuses.

”We did a square footage analysis in which we determined the entire square footage of the district buildings and divided it into the percentages of the square footage of each individual campus.  This showed us that the elementary campus made up about 26 percent, the junior high campus 24 percent, the high school campus 48 percent and the administration building 2 percent.   We analyzed the cost of utilities annually based on this square footage analysis to see what it would cost the district to keep a particular campus open,” said Winters. 

Each scenario would require renovation or construction to the current facilities

“Based on the data from Stantec, each campus is capable of accepting more age appropriate students. The challenge of consolidating campuses adds the dynamics of new grade levels that cannot merge into existing classrooms,” said Winters. 

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