Board considers future of schoolsA workshop to discuss district organization and enrollment was held after the monthly Dickinson Public Schools Board meeting Monday night at the Central Office.
A workshop to discuss district organization and enrollment was held after the monthly Dickinson Public Schools Board meeting Monday night at the Central Office.
“The question we need to look into is will our K-5 buildings be out of space by 2016 given our current enrollment numbers, migration trends and projected kindergarten numbers,” said Vince Reep, assistant superintendent of DPS.
The maximum number of sections DPS will be able to house in the K-5 buildings is 66. There are now are 54 sections, with a projected 61 in 2011.
Although the question was discussed, no decision or plan of action was taken, nor will be taken anytime soon.
Some ideas thrown out during the brainstorming session were building a new school, changing existing schools to only house two or three grades, changing the start and end times of the school day, and starting a building-to-building busing system.
“When we talk about reorganization of the district, we need to remember that we are dealing with families, not individual children,” said Dorothy Martinson, director of student services. “Location of the house in respect to the school needs to be considered and so does the fact that there may be multiple children in the house varying in age.”
Berg Elementary Principal Tammy Praus agreed with Martinson.
“How is a parent supposed to drop their children off at three different schools and get to work by 8, or earlier in some cases — building-to-building busing needs to be discussed,” she said.
A second discussion concerning enrollment took place.
“Not as many kids are coming into our district,” Reep said.
Inward migration resulted in 22 additional students 2010, compared to 122 new students in 2009.
“A lot of people aren’t moving their whole families to the area anymore,” Reep said.
During the last school year, DPS had 33 children come in and the same 33 left. Their families said the reason for leaving was tight housing and the increase in living expenses.
Another item of discussion was DPS’ self-funded health insurance. According to the August report, DPS is $108,051 in the red in its liability account. Its debt is down from last year, which at the same time was $270,839.
“We are confident we will make up these losses because we increased our premiums to eight percent, which is two percent higher than BlueCross BlueShield recommends,” Reep said. “Therefore we will be able to make up these deficiencies within this health year.”