- Those multipurpose facilities (MPFs) seemed expensive. Comparisons with similar facilities in other school districts were lacking.
- There wasn't enough in the bond to address anticipated enrollment growth over the next five years.
- There appeared to be no way to avoid a tax rate increase, even if only maintenance and construction for enrollment growth were addressed.
Now at their January 5th meeting, the school board took further steps to address my second takeaway, and in the process, my first takeaway as well. I consider those steps to be steps back in the right direction.It's too bad that the scheduled enrollment growth study couldn't have been accelerated so its results could have been presented to the public on this "listening tour." It's too bad that a placeholder for additional expansion wasn't included in the 2016 bond proposal so the public would know that the school board is aware of the need. But that's water under the bridge. I'm confident that by the time the school board signs off on any bond package that projected enrollment growth will be comprehended in it.Source: The Wheel.
Lake Highlands Advocate has the story.
More details can be found in the RISD's own School Times Now.At last night's RISD Board Study Session, district officials recommended shuffling the deck of 2016 bond money to shift $21.5 million from the construction of multipurpose practice facilities and $6.1 million from the redesign of libraries for a mix of solutions -- including construction -- to make way for the waves of new students drawn to RISD elementary schools, particularly in Lake Highlands.Source: Lake Highlands Advocate.
So the school district managed to divert $27 million in the proposed bond package towards school expansion to address increased enrollment. And $21.5 million of that comes out of those high-priced multipurpose facilities. Win-win.
I suspect we would have ended up in this very same place if the school district hadn't embarked on that "listening tour" in December, but instead waited until after the study on enrollment growth was completed in January. If so, we might have avoided some of the angst, particularly in Lake Highlands, over the perceived lack of attention to enrollment growth. But maybe the calendar precluded delaying the "listening tour." And who knows, maybe the forceful feedback on enrollment growth and on the cost of the multipurpose facilities was needed to force the district's hand. Or maybe this was a game of three-dimensional chess and the school board timed all this to give the appearance of listening to voters and responding to their feedback. Don't overthink this, Mark. As long as we ended up more or less in the right place, I'm not complaining.
As for the third of my takeaways, the need for a tax rate increase, I promoted breaking up the bond package into three or four separate propositions for the voters to consider. Like I said in December, what comes of that takeaway, I'll have to wait until all the content of the bond is determined.