GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Although nothing is finalized, we’re getting a clearer idea of how the Green Bay Area Public School District could go about downsizing.
After four months of research and discussions, a task force made the following recommendation to the GBAPS District Board of Education
- Beaumont, Doty, Elmore, Keller, MacArthur, Tank, Washington, Wequiock, and the district office building would close.
- Leonardo da Vinci School would be relocated to Webster Elementary
- Kennedy would be replaced by a new elementary school.
- Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill School would be relocated to Lincoln Elementary
- Franklin, Langlade, and McAuliffe would be repurposed as 4k-8 schools.
This option would mean a 13.5 percent savings in operational costs for the district and would increase the district’s capacity from 67 percent to 74 percent. District enrollment has fallen each year from 2016 to 2022 which made downsizing something the school district said it had to do.
This is a recommendation and the school board would vote on whether to approve it at a June 5 special meeting.
Not everybody is pleased with the recommendation from the task force.
“We feel like it would be premature for the school board to make a decision in less than a month because they would have to make the decision on June 5,” said Amanda Garcia.
Garcia is part of a group called the Northeast Wisconsin Latino Educational Task Force and was also part of the task force that made the recommendation to the school board. She said she raised concerns throughout the process.
According to district demographic data, Hispanics make up over 30 percent of the district’s student population. Garcia said she doesn’t believe the recommendation accounts for the fact that the Hispanic population has increased by about 13 percent since 2010.
“We believe the facilities task force members didn’t accurately represent student demographics and cultural identities of students,” said Garcia.
She believes downsizing the district will hurt the growing Hispanic student population. She’s also concerned that the facility downsizing project hasn’t been communicated in people’s native languages which limits their ability to provide meaningful feedback.
Task force members said adaptability, capacity, and location of the district’s current facilities were the main considerations when developing the recommendation. District officials reiterated that whatever plan they end up voting on will be the culmination of their best efforts to be equitable to all students.
“I feel for them, I feel that connection, I love our neighborhoods, it’s really hard to deal with but it’s just a starting point,” said Lavesa Glover-Verhagen who is one of the task force members. “Taking a breath and allowing the next step to continue to do what’s hopefully best for the whole educational community.”
“Our hope is that no student is adversely affected, let alone subgroups of students, our goal is when all is said and done, the kids end up in better facilities and have more opportunities than they would have had,” said the district’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Patchek.
The Green Bay Area Public School district will hold several community listening and informational sessions before the school board takes action on the recommendation at a special board meeting on June 5.
- Tabletop Discussion: Tuesday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the West High School Commons
- Tabletop Discussion: Wednesday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the East High School Commons
- Public Forum: Wednesday, May 24 at 4 p.m. at the Washington Middle School auditorium