At their Dec. 10 meeting, the school board approved placing a question on the ballot to cover improvements from the Designing Pathways process. After three years of planning, public input and research, the improvements include updates to learning environments and security, including:
- Transition 4 year old preschool to the elementary schools to ensure more children are prepared for kindergarten. This would enable the district to serve more preschoolers as well as strengthen the link between preschool and kindergarten.
- Transition 6th graders from the elementary schools to a more age appropriate environment at the middle school tailored to their academic needs. Making Central Middle School a grade 6-8 building would offer a more cohesive three-year program and align Eden Prairie with the middle school model used in most of the metro area.
- Improve safety and security across all eight schools by adding protective glass, lock down equipment, internal communication systems and exterior entry security. While all schools currently have secure entrances, these improvements would add additional security layers to each building for student and staff safety.
- Redesign classrooms across the district to support a more flexible and personalized learning environment to develop skills employers and colleges demand: collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. By providing spaces for students to learn in one-on-one, small group and large group settings, programs could be better tailored to meet individual learning needs. The improvements would require a community vote to approve a $39.9 million bond to fund the construction and materials needed. If approved by voters, the cost of the proposal would be $6.50 a month on a $350,000 home.
“I believe this is in the long term best interest of students, the district, and the community,” said Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson. “We would also maintain our commitment to financial responsibility by keeping our taxes among the lowest in this area.”
The board is expected to vote to officially approve bringing the ballot to voters at a Spring 2019 special election at an upcoming Board meeting.