As the calendar year comes to a close, the 2017-18 school year is nearing the mid-way point! Every day, I am so proud of our staff and students and the work we do together. The welfare and success of every student is our purpose and we are committed to working with parents and the community to achieve this goal.
The School Board hosted a Public Meeting on November 14th and over 150 people attended. I was very pleased to have such a large turnout and an opportunity to update the audience on the discussions the Board has been having about our facility needs, and to hear comments and questions from audience members. Each Board member also individually spoke to the audience.
As most people know, South Terrace Elementary and Carlton High School (Grades 6-12) are separate facilities a mile apart and each school has unique needs. South Terrace is in good physical condition in many ways, however, most of the infrastructure is original equipment from 1961 and it needs replacing. Carlton High School is a larger facility and was built in 1912 (with the newest ‘wing’ built in the 1970s). The repair and upgrade needs of the high school are more complex and costly.
After serious consideration of the needs for safe and healthy school facilities and the public input it has received, on December 18th the School Board approved selling bonds to finance a few projects in the Summer of 2018. These projects are limited to what the State allows school districts to use revenues from bond sales for without voter approval. Specifically, at South Terrace, the HVAC system will be replaced, fire suppression equipment will be installed, and some brick façade repair work will be done. In addition, there will be parking lot and sidewalk improvements at both schools.
The total cost of all of these projects is approximately $5.5 million. The tax impact on a $150,000 home will be $120 annually. The South Terrace project will provide significantly improved air quality which is well documented to improve student and staff breathing comfort which also improves their ability to concentrate, and improved air quality also helps preserve the building’s contents and structure. The project will also replace a 50+ year old boiler and install fire sprinklers to help assure the safety of our students, staff, the contents of the school and the school itself. Parking lots and sidewalks at both sites will be repaired and in some locations replaced to improve safety, drainage and provide handicapped accessibility at the main entrance of each school.
The school district needs to make decisions about repairs and renovations to the high school carefully and strategically with a focus on the long term needs of students, the district and our communities. I am currently planning a community input process so staff, parents and community members can work together to update the mission and vision of Carlton Public Schools. The physical needs of our high school need to be considered under the larger vision of our future and the needs of students to receive the best education possible for success in the 21st Century. It is my hope to begin this process in February and I truly hope that we will have much community participation. Please watch for further details and information on dates and times in the January Community News, as well as on our school web page.
I wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season and the very best in 2018!