School has been underway for over a month now, and everyone is ‘in the swing’ or routine of learning. I am so proud of our district in so many ways. I will bring you up to date on our facilities planning.
We have had considerable support from our community, as we have begun a study of facilities needs for our district. Some background information for you:
•We had an enrollment study done. The recommendation was that we focus upon projections for up to five years. If you look at our five years of information, you will see that enrollment is projected to have a 6.6 percent decline.
However, we believe that since we are working to reverse that trend, along with good news of business growth in our community and an uptick of births that we can slow down the trend.
In addition to this, our district has begun surveying families who open enroll into and out of our district, in order to learn why people stay or leave our district. We are implementing several strategies to keep our students in Princeton. It is important to note that students from Princeton chose to enroll elsewhere at a lower rate than other districts statewide.
•Our district had a scientific poll done with input from 330 community voters. The intent was to poll these citizens, to find out how they felt about any future referendums. We found that we had strong support for facilities referendums and the district in general.
•Last spring, we hired two companies to help us navigate the process of facilities planning. Wold Architects and ICS Consulting have been instrumental in the process, which began on August 1. Princeton’s very own hometown hero, Vaughn Dierks, has taken the lead as a Wold partner. He has a vested interest in our district, as he has family in our community.
Since August 1, eight committees have been meeting to review our facilities planning, leading to criteria recommendations. It was decided early on that school board members and administrators would only attend these meetings if invited by community committee members — the thought being that any facilities planning, leading to referendum, needs to come primarily from the community itself. Broad-based community support is our goal.
The following committees have been meeting and have completed their criteria summaries:
•Physical Conditions, Operations and Quality,
•Enrollment, Capacity, and Grade Configuration,
•Educational and Programming Needs,
•Activities and Community,
•Safety and Security.
The minutes from all committee meetings are posted on the district website at http://www.princeton.k12.mn.us/.
Future steps that will be happening soon will be the convening of a Communications Committee (to get feedback from the general community), Community Finance Committee (to develop financial criteria and consider tax impact on the community) and Options Committee (to synthesize all of the established criteria and consider viable options for presentation to the School Board). If any of you are interested in becoming a member of these committees, please contact Bridget Sorensen at 763-389-6184.
It is our plan that the School Board will be able to reach a resolution in December of this year.
Please give me your feedback via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 763-389-6190. I am interested in your opinions, as we move forward.
Dr. Julia Espe is the superintendent of the Princeton School District. Reach her by email at [email protected]