I am pleased to share that our Long Range Planning Committee continues to meet and will be moving into a new phase beginning tonight. Our Long Range Planning Committee has been meeting since August of 2012. Early meetings focused primarily on the vision for our District. We discussed perceptions regarding District strengths and areas for improvement by asking questions like, “When you think of our District, what are you most proud of?” and “If a friend from another state asked about our District, what would you tell them?” Our discussion helped us to recognize the need for additional input and feedback to inform any recommendations we may consider bringing to our school board.
The result was a survey which was developed over a period of 6 months and distributed community-wide last September. The survey was designed to be comprehensive, asking for input around academics, communication, budget and facilities. Our committee then began the process of reviewing survey results, and the survey continues to guide our recommendations and inform our decisions. For example, one area of the survey considered phase II of our 2008 building project. Phase II included plans where our gymnasium would be converted into a theater and replaced. The survey did not indicate support for phase II and the resulting committee recommendation included upgrades to existing facilities rather than replacement.
The survey did show strong support for classroom space and infrastructure maintenance. Our review in this area brought a recommendation to partner with an architectural firm to complete a needs assessment of all District facilities with a specific focus on the 1956 wing of our elementary school, District-wide HVAC systems, building security, and our District food service facilities. After sending out requests for proposal to architectural firms throughout southeastern Wisconsin, we narrowed our list and interviewed three firms with strong local connections to our District. Ultimately, that process led to a partnership with Bray Associates Architects, Inc. Bray’s owner and President, Matt Wolfert, is an Oostburg graduate and is joined by Oostburg graduate Matt TeBeest on the team serving us.
Tonight our Long Range Planning Committee will meet with Bray and their team to discuss their early reviews. The 1956 elementary school wing was well-planned and has met the needs of our community for almost 60 years, but its condition now has serious areas of concern. It is our desire to provide strategic planning – in facilities and other areas – which will contribute to the ongoing success of our District as we help all students reach high levels of achievement. We look forward to sharing more as our committee continues to meet in the months ahead.
I would also like to remind all District residents of our annual meeting which will be held this Wednesday evening in our HS conference room. As you may have noticed in the Lakeshore Weekly and Sheboygan Press notifications for this meeting, we are proposing a 0% local tax levy increase. This will be the 4th time in 6 years where our local levy has been proposed with 0% increase.