New boundary adjustment scenario officially recommended to GBAPS Board of Education

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Green Bay Area Public School district officials are hoping that the third time is the charm as they continue to try to right-size their district amid declining enrollment and budget concerns.

On Monday night, a consultant presented ‘Scenario C’ to the GBAPS Board of Education, the latest attempt to realign the boundaries of their district in an effort to adjust to a declining student population. The consultant worked with a community task force with guidance from district officials to come up with ‘Scenario C.’

“This was hard work, there were many moments during the committee meetings where we struggled with the conversation because nobody enjoys this,” said GBAPS interim superintendent Vicki Bayer.

Here’s what is included in ‘Scenario C’:

  • The district would build a new elementary school on the west side where Kennedy Elementary School is located. Students from Kennedy, Keller (which closed for good after the school year that just finished up) and some MacArthur Elementary School students would go to the new school.
  • Voters would need to vote yes on a referendum to make this new elementary school project possible.
  • Elmore Elementary School would close and those students would either go to Chappell or Lincoln.
  • Langlade Elementary School would consolidate into Doty. Some of the Langlade students would go to Webster.
  • MacArthur Elementary School would also close.
  • The district is proposing referendum projects at several schools to accommodate the additional students.
  • There are several other minor adjustments to school boundary lines throughout the district.

Unlike the two previous scenarios, ‘Scenario C’ only impacts kids at the elementary school level. District officials say that ‘Scenario C’ would impact about 1200 students in the district compared to the first two scenarios which would have impacted over 2000 each.

According to community surveys conducted by district officials, 45 percent of respondents expressed support for ‘Scenario C.’ Both ‘Scenario A’ and ‘Scenario B’ had less than 30 percent support from the community according to the district.

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A large point of contention in the first two scenarios according to district officials was plans to convert several schools into ‘K-8’s’.

Although there’s more support from the community for this new scenario, there are still people who have concerns. On Monday night, several teachers from Elmore Elementary came to speak out against closing their school.

“By dissolving our community are we allowing our students to be able to succeed,” said Nora Reschke who is a teacher at Elmore. “These elementary students they really need that routine and that consistency.”

“Timing, many of our students are still rebounding from the impact that COVID-19 had on education,” said Renae Vincent who is a speech-language pathologist at Elmore Elementary School.

Vincent also noted that, unlike other schools that would close under the plan, Elmore students don’t get to go to the new elementary school. She questioned if this was equitable.

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The Board of Education will vote on whether to approve ‘Scenario C’ on June 24. A few board members provided some initial thoughts on ‘Scenario C’.

“I see things that I definitely believe I’m going to be able to support, but I do have remaining reservations about (closing) Elmore,” said Andrew Becker.

“We still have the responsibility to make generational change at some point with this, we need to do the best we can to provide for our students which I think we are doing,” said Bryan Milz who also said he wishes this could be done without closing Elmore.

District officials said they are working on contingency plans if the referendum doesn’t pass. They need voters to pass the referendum to get the funds needed to build that new elementary schools and to complete projects at several other schools to accommodate the extra students.

The Board of Education has already approved the closures of Tank, Wequiock, and Keller Elementary Schools. District officials say this will save them about 2.4 million dollars next school year.