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District leaders deliberating future growth 

District leaders deliberating future growth 
District leaders deliberating future growth 

With more than 300 more students expected to join the district in the next 5 years, and up to 1,000 more in 10 years, district leaders are looking to make some room to welcome them. How best to do so will be the center of many conversations with the school board and community this spring.

The boost in enrollment will have an impact on school buildings across the district. A recent demographic report identified several schools that are already near capacity and are projected to be over capacity in the coming years, including Afton-Lakeland, Andersen and Lake Elmo elementary schools and Oak-Land Middle School. 

Earlier this week, school board members reviewed results from a recent community survey. About 400 people took part in the random-sample phone survey. The survey asked questions about the overall quality of education in the district, and also measured whether or not the community would support a bond to fund facility projects across the district.

Results indicate that support for the school district continues to be strong. As with past community surveys, respondents gave high ratings to the quality of education in the district.  Respondents also gave favorable ratings for the district’s financial management. The majority of survey respondents indicated they would support a bond referendum to address growth in our district and update some of our facilities. Check out the survey results.

What Happens Next?

In the coming weeks, district leaders will hold conversations at both Andersen Elementary and Lake Elmo Elementary about the needs of their school communities. Both of these buildings are already at capacity and have very little opportunity for expansion in their current locations. They are also the district’s oldest buildings (built in 1919 and 1920 respectively) and come with a long list of accessibility issues and other operational challenges.

For more than a decade, conversations have taken place about replacing Lake Elmo with a new building within the community. The idea of possibly replacing Andersen with a new school within Bayport or Baytown Township is new, however. District leaders are interested to hear from families at both schools on what opportunities or challenges new facilities might present. 

Beginning in April, a facilities planning team - made up of community members, parents and staff - will be meeting to discuss the district’s facilities needs. They’ll review the 2020 Community Design Team's facility recommendations and consider the latest demographic projections. They'll also review the survey data and feedback collected during the conversations with families. They are expected to bring a facilities improvement plan to the school board this summer for consideration. The school district anticipates that a bond referendum will be held this fall asking voters to consider adding capacity at the elementary and middle school levels and address known issues in aging facilities.

Follow the facilities conversation at stillwaterschools.org/growth


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