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School Board OKs Planning Process to Solve Long-term Secondary Space Issue

The Hudson School District Board of Education approved long-term secondary space solution criteria, the establishment a community advisory committee, initial planning steps and a process to hire an architect for pre-referendum support.

Nearly a month after the City of Hudson Common Council voted to deny a Hudson School District request to rezone the St. Croix Meadows dog track property and turn it into a secondary school, the district approved a new process to solve its long-term space issues.

At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Hudson School District Board of Education voted to approve long-term secondary space solution criteria, the establishment a community advisory committee, initial planning steps and a process to hire an architect for pre-referendum support.

CRITERIA

Board members voted 7-0 to approve a list of bullet points detailing the criteria the board will use to consider any long-term secondary space solution. The list of criteria was discussed at a board working session on Oct. 30, and originated from the 2004 Facilities Task Force recommendation and 2007 board-approved long-term space for learing solutions assumptions. 

The criteria include enrollment and class size expectations, programs and systems for learning requirements, financial and facility considerations, and community engagement as part of the decision-making process.

COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The board voted 6-1 (Mark Kaisersatt dissented) on Tuesday to establish a community advisory committee to review information about long-term solutions and report its feedback and analysis to the board.

Community members Paul Moen and Paul Bourget will organize the 12-member committee with help from board president Tom Holland and two other board members. 

By Nov. 23, a membership application, criteria and process for member selection and planning steps will be in place, according to the approved timeline. The application period will run from Nov. 26 to Dec. 14 and the members will be selected by Dec. 28. 

PLANNING PROCESS INITIAL STEPS

The board voted 6-1 (Kaisersatt dissented) on Tuesday to approve initial steps in a Secondary Space for Learning Long-term Planning Process with steps that take the process into February 2013.

Nov. 14 through Dec. 6, the Hudson School District will accept all suggestions for potential solutions submitted through the form on its website or via email to connections@hudson.k12.wi.us.

The swift timeline also includes a request for proposal period and selection process for pre-referendum architectural support (Nov. 19-30), two large-scale community discussion sessions (Nov. 29 and Dec. 6), and time for the community advisory committee to form and do its work.

The board also voted 6-1 (Kaisersatt dissented) on Tuesday to approve a specific process to hire the architect firm for pre-referendum support.

"UNNECESSARY PLAN" OR OPPORTUNITY TO "BRING COMMUNITY TOGETHER"?

Kaisersatt's dissenting votes were based on his opinion that the community already had indicated its desire for a space solution by passing a referendum to purchase the St. Croix Meadows property last year.

"What I see here, ladies and gentlemen, is the of seeking answers to questions that have already been answered," he said. "It's unnecessary. The community's desire, I think, is well known. There was a direct vote that wasn't close. I think this is an unnecessary plan. I think the community will support a new secondary school. They did this past April. I don't think anything has changed. I think this is a waste of time and resources." 

Board member Sandy Gehrke called the process "a great chance to try to bring the community together." 

"Right now it's basically split," Gehrke said. "I encourage everyone at the meeting to keep an open mind. There's nothing carved in stone that says we need to buy a piece of land and build a four-year high school. There are a lot of other options to solve the space issues for the next 10 years, as is [Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten]'s desire."

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Carbon Bigfuut November 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Unless you were very involved in the "Vote Yes" committee, I doubt that applying would be worth the effort.
Dolly Qualls November 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Carbon, Not a good assumption. Call me. 715-386-2745
Paul Bourget November 14, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I can assure you that I was not involved in the Vote Yes effort. The reason this committee is being formed is to bring as many voices to the table as possible to address the secondary school space issues. Anyone who has the time and inclination to devote to the committee is encouraged to apply.
April Simmons November 15, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I agree with Gehrke! A four year high school is not the only answer or even a good answer at that. It is short sighted as it only solves one of the space issues Hudson School district has. If we are smart we will build something that can alleviate the space issues at both the middle and high school levels.
Paine Reliever November 15, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Mrs. Simmons tries to show an open mind to solving the space needs of all our students at the middle school and high school, but she claims that building a new 4 year high school won't solve the middle and high school needs. This is untrue. the current middle school could be a 67 building, the current high school could be an 8/9 building and the new high school could be a 10/11/12 building, that could be expanded to a 9/10/11/12 building in the future if needed. So contrary to Mrs. Simmons logic, all space needs would be taken care of and we would have flexibility to handle growth for more than the proposed 10 years that Sandy Gerhke is proposing. There are many ways to address space needs, to be "smart" we should not reject one of the most obvious answers as short sighted. If we build, build smart.

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