This evening, Jan. 29, the ENSC School Board discussed options for a potential middle school project. At this point, they are down to two options.
1. Full renovation
2. Build a new facility.
Adding on to the current location and then removing part of the old building is no longer an option due to the charter school laws. If a school facility is partially or fully empty, the building has to be registered with the Indiana Department of Education and made available for a charter school to move in. If the district were to add on to the current facility, they would not be able to tear off the vacated portion for two years. There is not enough room on the current property to have this sort of project.
During the Board meeting one parent spoke to the Board asking them to be transparent and share all discussions and decisions with the public through the process. The School Board plans to hold public discussions and include the community as much as possible.
Another parent asked the Board to have a 30 year plan, and “build for obsolescents.” He wants to be certain the Board does not spend funds on more than we will need and understand that education in 30 years will look very different than today. In addition, he reinforced the importance of spending money on “technology and teachers.” This is what is most important for schools.
A third parent is concerned about transportation of students and the current “hub” at the middle school. She wants to make sure that we take into consideration the transportation needs of students.
During the Board discussion, members discussed the challenges of the current building, needs of the students, safety of students, and ensuring they are fiscally responsible. There was much discussion around the cost of the middle school and taxes. The estimated cost of a new building or renovated building will be approximately $22-$24 million dollars. While the district cannot say taxes will not go up, they can say that their current debt is about $5 million annually. By 2019 all debt will be retired. This estimated annual cost of a middle school project will be about $3.25 million annually. The district anticipates their annual debt to drop by $1.75 million per year with the middle school project.
Please feel free to contact Ann Linson with any questions you may have. 260-347-2502 or firstname.lastname@example.org