November 21, 2018
Proposal includes a referendum for community approval
At their regular business meeting on Monday, the Eden Prairie School board unanimously agreed to move forward with the Designing Pathways recommendations.
The School Board voted to, “move forward with recommendations for Designing Pathways as articulated by Superintendent Swanson in regards to grade level configuration, facilities, safety and security, and personalized learning spaces; to direct the superintendent to bring the board future ballot language options for a bond referendum totaling 39.9 million dollars; and support Superintendent Swanson continuing to develop choices for EACH student that will be brought to the board in the future.”
Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson’s Designing Pathways recommendation includes four components:
- Improve the middle school experience by transitioning 6th graders to a more age- and academic-appropriate environment at the middle school. Improvements include:
- An updated learning environment with new classrooms, collaborative learning spaces and building-wide updates.
- Stronger performing arts opportunities with a new performing arts space.
- Improved traffic flow and safety for student pick up and drop off.
- Students will eat lunch over a typical lunch period by expanding the cafeteria and preventing lunch periods from beginning at 10 a.m.
- Providing choices for each student that also strengthen the Spanish immersion experience.
- Transition 4 year old preschool to the elementary schools to ensure more children are prepared for kindergarten. Improvements include:
- Improved traffic flow at the elementary schools with the reduction of 6th grade and preschool starting on a separate schedule as the rest of the school.
- Students will be more academically, socially and emotionally prepared for kindergarten by experiencing preschool in the same building as K-5.
- Preschool and kindergarten teachers will regularly collaborate to ensure student success.
- Preschool students will ride a dedicated preschool bus to the elementary schools.
- Facilities at the elementary schools will be updated where appropriate.
- Improve safety and security across all eight schools by adding protective glass, lock down equipment, internal communication systems and exterior entry security.
- Redesign classrooms across the district that emphasize skills employers and colleges demand like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.
“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.”
These recommendations would require community vote and approval for a $39.9 million bond. If approved by taxpayers, the cost of the proposal would be $6.50 a month on a $350,000 home. The school board will continue conversations about the proposal at future board meetings, including discussions about potential ballot language.
The proposal was made after three years of planning, public input and research. Additional planning will take place this school year regarding K-8 choice programming at the elementary and middle schools to support and strengthen current immersion programming and expand additional choices for students.