Our State Assembly Representative, Rep. Sandy Pasch, is holding two Town Halls this week. Pasch will be joined by Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson.
Tuesday, August 25 - 6pm-7:30pm
Radisson Hotel Milwaukee North Shore - Glendale
7065 North Port Washington Road
Wednesday, August 26 - 10:30am-11:30am
Whitefish Bay Public Library
5420 North Marlborough Drive
Also, as many of you know, the Whitefish Bay Schools are considering a referendum on the November ballot for upgrading and maintaining the school facilities.
The school district will be hosting 3 "Listening Sessions"
- Monday, August 24, 6 p.m., Richards School cafeteria
- Wednesday, August 26, 7 p.m., Cumberland School cafeteria
- Tuesday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m., Whitefish Bay High School room 47
Dr. Rickabaugh sent me an advanced copy of the handout:
School District facility study findings, emerging plans, and opportunities to give your input
You are invited to attend one or more information and input sessions where you can learn in detail about our facility needs and about options to assure that our buildings are protected so they can continue to serve our students well. Please come and hear about the plans and options under consideration, and offer your perspective. Read on for further information.
The Whitefish Bay School Board appointed a committee of parents, community members and staff who spent a year reviewing and analyzing school facility conditions and educational program needs. The committee found that our district has significant and urgent needs that affect teaching and learning.
SAFETY & SECURITY
• Our schools were constructed at a time when building safety and security were less of an issue than they are today. With changing times has come the need for significant front-entrance and other safety-related remodeling to assure that access is monitored and controlled.
• Fire-alarm systems in each of our schools must be upgraded or replaced to comply with current safety codes.
• When our schools were constructed, the internal systems necessary to support modern technology could not have been imagined. For example, most classrooms have only one or two electrical outlets to support an array of electrical needs for computers, projectors and other instructional tools.
• The Richards and Cumberland School cafeterias were constructed at a time when most students went home for lunch. Because this is no longer the practice for the vast majority of families, our students now sit elbow-to-elbow over four lunch periods in crowded, noisy conditions. This makes lunchtime less pleasant for those in the cafeteria and poses challenges for teachers conducting class in nearby classrooms.
• Our elementary cafeterias must often double as art classrooms. Every day, staff time must be devoted to setting up cafeteria spaces as classrooms, removing art class materials and equipment to serve lunch, setting them up again, and taking them down to allow for after-school use.
• With enrollments around 700, our elementary schools are among the largest in southeastern Wisconsin. Yet a single gymnasium must accommodate physical education classes, performances, community recreation and large school and community gatherings. School programs of any duration displace physical education classes.
• Middle School orchestra is taught in an undersized, converted locker-room in the basement, with temperature control so inadequate that school instruments cannot be stored there.
• When it was installed 20 years ago, the vinyl tile gym floor was cost-effective. However, the tile rests on a hard concrete surface that is exceedingly slippery when humidity levels rise. The floor is at the end of its life-cycle and should be replaced with a safer, more appropriate and useable surface.
• High School science lab course enrollment has outgrown our science laboratory space, limiting student access to hands-on advanced science learning opportunities.
• High School music classes are taught in slightly modified traditional classroom space at the opposite side of the school from auditorium performance space. There is inadequate room to accommodate all students, and the acoustics are substandard.
• Growth in some specialized high-school special education classes has increased pressure on space and on our ability to respond sufficiently to some students’ needs. Our current space is, in some cases, sub-standard.
• The committee found that our buildings have been well maintained. However, they are at a life-cycle stage when they need roof replacements, improvements to the heating, ventilation and air-circulation systems, lighting upgrades, and other major maintenance attention.
• Bathrooms throughout our schools have not been remodeled to replace pipes or other plumbing since the schools were constructed in the 1930s. Some fixtures are original to the buildings.
The facilities study committee’s report and recommendations have led the School Board to consider a referendum in November. Our District’s needs are compelling. The debt incurred to improve the Middle School, authorized by the community in the 1990s, will soon be repaid. It is an opportune time to consider investing in improvements to the beautiful, well-constructed schools for which our community is known.