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.
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.
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."