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Facilities/Boundary Changes Q&A

Questions & Answers about the Facilities Realignment Process and Attendance Boundary Changes in District 191

 

Will closing schools mean classes will be more crowded?

No. District 191 will continue to set teacher-to-student ratios based on the annual budget process. Teachers at closed schools will be reassigned to other schools, just like students will be.

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How will having fewer schools affect class size?

The average class sizes across District 191 should remain fairly constant. However, there should be more balanced class sizes across the district and fewer “hot spots” with very large or very small classes. 

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Will closing sites make more families choose to leave District 191?

By keeping all of our schools open, District 191 is spending more money on utilities, staff and maintenance than is needed. When schools close, that money can be used to improve programs and services for students. Right now, our facilities are not efficient and that takes away from programming.  

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How will closing schools affect programming?

Having fewer schools with more students at each may provide several benefits for students. 

At the elementary level, because some schools have only two sections - meaning two 1st grade classes, two kindergarten classes, etc. - it’s difficult to have consistent class sizes, and some end up being larger than we would like. By consolidating elementary schools, we’ll be able to be more consistent in class sizes across the district.

At the middle school level, having two larger middle schools will make it easier to offer a more robust middle school model that lets teachers work more as teams to meet students’ needs.

At the very least, closing schools will help the district operate more efficiently, allowing more programming and services to be maintained. 

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How much money does District 191 expect to save by closing schools?

More precise estimates won’t be known until after the schools are selected, but the district anticipates reducing costs by between $2 million and $3 million. 

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How will attendance boundaries be redrawn?

Attendance boundaries for both elementary and middle schools will need to be redrawn if schools are closed. As with the school closing discussion, stakeholder input will be an important part of the attendance boundary change process. Work is expected to take place in December and January with options being presented to the Board of Education in February 2019.   

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What will happen to the district’s magnet schools?

As District 191 proceeds with the Facilities Realignment Process, it will also be completing a review of the magnet programs that are currently offered, which include Harriet Bishop (Gifted & Talented), William Byrne (STEM) and Rahn (Arts & Technology). 

Because the recommendations for school closings will affect how District 191 elementary schools are organized, and because of the opportunity the process offers to review and improve all of our elementary schools, any typical events related to magnet schools - such as information nights and application deadlines - are currently delayed. 

More information regarding magnet programs will be available after the School Board has taken action on closing schools, attendance boundary changes and other related issues.

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Is the District selling Diamondhead Education Center?

Right now, the District is only gathering information related to the possibility of selling Diamondhead Education Center. With the focus being put toward closing schools and related changes, it is not being pursued at this time. Tentatively, the Board plans to continue the conversation about Diamondhead in January. 

Background: An external consultant recommended that District 191 sell Diamondhead Education Center as part of a study conducted in the spring of 2019. Diamondhead currently houses the Burnsville Senior Center, Community Education, administrative offices, early childhood classes, early childhood special education and several meeting and classrooms for professional development and community use.  

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