Right now, Hudson Middle School is the biggest middle school in Wisconsin in terms of the number of middle-schoolers attending classes in one building. But it might not be that way in the future. Two new options to solve long-term secondary space issues include doing away with the 6-8 middle school concept in favor of two 6-9 secondary schools.
The Hudson School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted 6-1 to add two additional options to research and consider to help solve the district's secondary space issues. Board member Sandy Gehrke cast the lone dissenting vote.
The additional options were presented as Option P(1) and Option P(2):
Option P(1): Construct three-year (10-12) high school
-Convert current middle school and high school to two schools for grades 6-9
Option P(2): Construct new school for grades 6-9
-Convert current high school to three-year (10-12) high school
-Convert current middle school to grades 6-9
"What I want to emphasize is that when we talk about some additional options for consideration, the administration has no preference on these options," said Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten. "We're looking at identifying an option that our community supports as a long-term solution that certainly supports our program and the vision of the district and moving that forward, and also provides adequate space for learning for our students."
In December, the board voted to move forward with only the following three options from a list of about 15:
Option B: Construct four-year high school
-Convert current high school to 7-8 school
-Convert current middle school to 5-6 school
Option C: Construct three-year (10-12) high school
-Convert current high school to 8-9 school
-Convert current middle school to 6-7 school
Option F: Construct 6-12 STEM school for 700 students
District Communications Specialist Tracy Habisch-Ahlin presented research showing that fewer school transitions and larger grade groupings is better for academic learing. Options B and C require that students change schools four times during their K-12 years. The new options require students to change schools only three times.
"Research has shown significant achievement loss in each transition year," Habisch-Ahlin said. "Students spend more of their time and energy learning the culture of the building and less time focused on academic piece."
All five of the options will be explored in further detail and eventually presented for community review.
"Another major question is if something is going to be built, where will it be built?"
The district's property on County Road UU was considered for a secondary school site, but was found to be a very poor site for a large secondary school. Without access to City of Hudson wastewater treatment facilities, it is only suitable for an elementary-size school of about 650 students, according to the superintendent.
"When the City of Hudson Plan Commission and the city council considered rezoning St. Croix Meadows there were statements that were made about the UU property about creating a special district to bring public utilities to the UU site," Bowen-Eggebraaten said. "We had always talked to the city about annexation, which we did not receive any positive about, but there were some statements about this special water district. To be clear, there were no statements that they would; there were statements that it was possible."
The board discussed whether the district should pursue discussions with the City of Hudson to determine whether it would create a special water district for the UU property before investing district funds in any further studies of that site. The board came to a consensus to bring the issue to the city.
What do you think about the new options for reconfiguring the Hudson School District from one massive 6-8 middle school to two 6-9 secondary schools? Tell us in the comments