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A Message from Superintendent Larry Francois

Thank you to those who attended an information meeting or provided feedback on the construction of a new high school, grade reconfiguration and related boundary adjustments.

February 15, 2013

Dear Northshore Families,

Since last October, I have met with 54 staff, parent and community groups to share information about the enrollment growth we are experiencing in the north/central corridor of the district and the School Board’s unanimous decision to pursue construction of a new high school, grade reconfiguration and related boundary adjustments in response to those challenges. I want to thank all who have attended these meetings and provided feedback, as well as those who have viewed a similar presentation posted on our website at www.nsd.org.

A fourth comprehensive high school, grade reconfiguration and the related boundary adjustments represent significant change for our district. That is why it has been personally important for me to meet with as many of you as possible. My goal is to assure awareness and understanding of our north end enrollment challenges and how the proposed solution meets those challenges while also benefiting the instructional programs across our district.

As we move forward, there will be critical actions, decisions and mileposts to turn these plans into reality. Between now and next fall, we will finalize the ballot measures to recommend to the School Board for a February 2014 levy/bond election. A successful bond measure is necessary to fund the new high school. In addition, we are in the design and permit process so that we can be “shovel ready” as soon as possible to provide much needed relief to our most overcrowded school communities. Further, we will be creating task forces to begin the process of adapting our instructional programs and offerings as we plan for grade reconfiguration. Finally, we will be conducting further study and analysis for the School Board on potential consolidation of eastside elementary schools with declining enrollment that would become even smaller with grade reconfiguration.

Our hope is to open a new high school and implement grade reconfiguration and the related boundary adjustments in the fall of 2017. While that may seem like a long way off, the time will pass quickly. My commitment is to do our very best over the next several years to make this a smooth and successful transition. I will continue to provide periodic updates in this letter and welcome your ongoing participation and feedback.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ken Mortland February 19, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Mr. Francois: During my 37 years as a classroom teacher in NSSD, I found the community to be incredibly supportive, even in difficult times. I do not see them doing otherwise, now. Reconfiguration will be something new for them, but its common acceptance across the industry will help. We would likely have done so a decade or more ago, had we the extra classroom space to accomplish it. Building a fourth high school achieves that. Having to consolidate some elementary schools may seem contradictory to building a new high school, but I believe the Northshore Community will sort things out successfully. I'm sure your outreach to community groups will help. Sufficient time has been provided for making thorough plans and decisions. Good luck with this endeavor. Changing school boundaries is one of the most difficult logistic endeavors a school district can undertake.
Greg Fazzio February 22, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Am I the only one who sees the irony of proposing construction of a new school when, just a few short years ago, I stood side by side with other concerned parents when the NSD told us that they HAD to close Woodin Elementary and consolidate schools or the district would go broke? District administrators told us of massive declining enrollment and presented dire forecasts using a variety of charts and graphs. Upon careful examination we determined that NONE of it made any sense. There was zero logic in their plan. We, the parents, were right in our analysis, and Woodin remains open and thriving today. I am not suggesting that a new school isn't the right option. I am also confident that our school board will look very carefully at any bond measure or levy before it goes to the public for a vote. Many of the school board members serving today were very much involved with the Woodin closure issue and remember it well. It was, in fact, the impetus for those individuals to run for the school board in the first place. Nevertheless, it is important for taxpayers to be educated and fully aware of the facts before you cast your vote.

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