Questions & Answers

  • The questions asked during the meeting were recorded along with the answers, that information is below.

    Class Size & Enrollment numbers

    • What is the optimal enrollment for an elementary building?
      • Elementary schools in PLCS are built for 450-500 student.  This is a 3-section school with 3 classes at each grade level.
    • Of the 113 to be moved, how many would come from Portal Ridge specifically? Andover?  Harrison Hills?  What grade levels are the students being moved from?

    2019-20 Grade level by Sub-Division

     
     

    Grade Level

    ANDOVER POINTE

    HARRISON HILLS APTS.

    PORTAL RIDGE

    Grand Total

     

    1

    1

     

    17

    18

     

    2

    2

     

    18

    20

     

    3

    1

     

    13

    14

     

    4

     

    2

    12

    14

     

    5

     

    2

    12

    14

     

    6

    1

    2

    8

    11

     
    •  How many students will the new school have and where are they coming from?
      • The proposed boundaries for the new elementary school are south of Highway 370 and west of 120th street plus Sumtur Crossing.   Currently there are 70 students living in that area. The growth projections indicate that the school will open with 100-125 students.
    • Are the numbers being shared actual/current or projection numbers?
      • There is a combination of actual and projected numbers based on what numbers are being referenced.  When talking about how many students are being moved, the numbers are actual.  When talking about future growth, the numbers are projections.
    • Does Portal have portables? How are they being used?
      • There is one portable currently at Portal Elementary, but it is not being used. 
    • Are there plans for portables at the new school?
      • The new school will be built as a 3-section school and built for 450-500 students.  There will be lots of room to grow into the school.  However, it is possible with all new areas that portables may be needed to help with the peak growth periods.
    • At what point is Portal at enrollment capacity?
      • Portal is built to serve 450-500 students. It is important to remember it is a school where the neighborhood is maturing, and the enrollment is starting to flatten out.  
    • What will you do if PQ hits 700, 800 and the new school isn’t completed? What about the capacity at Portal? When is enough, enough regarding capacity?
      • The goal of opening the new school AND moving kids from Prairie Queen to Portal and the new school, is to control the size of Prairie Queen as much as possible.  We know Prairie Queen will continue to be one of the largest schools for several years. In the future another elementary school north of Highway 370 will be needed. The capacity at Portal is 450-500 students. 
    • When will the new elementary open?
      • The goal is to open the new elementary school in the fall of 2020.
    • What are current class sizes at PQ and PO? Will there be smaller class sizes at Portal?
      • Current class Size at Prairie Queen is 23; Portal is 19.10.  Class sizes vary from year to year, school to school and class to class.  The District average has remained around 21 and there is no plan to grow the district average.
    • Numbers for growth areas to PQ? And new building?
      • Approximately 200 students are expected in the next 5 years around Prairie Queen.  Approximately 540 students are expected in the new school attendance area at build out.
    • If the boundary change goes through as proposed, what is the projected enrollment at PQ? PO? New school?
      • The current enrollment at Prairie Queen is 600.  The new elementary school will move 70 students, the proposed move to Portal will impact 113 students.  That will bring the enrollment at Prairie Queen to 417.  However, the current areas surrounding Prairie Queen are projected to bring an additional 200 students in the next 5 years. Prairie Queen will remain at 500 or above for a while.
      • The current enrollment at Portal is 400.  The proposed move from PQ will add max 113 students (if no one chooses to grandfather). There are currently no major growth areas feeding Portal.
      • The new school is projected to open with 100-125 students.  There is an additional potential 640 students due to growth within the next 10 years.  

    Middle School

    • Is the middle school going to receive resources for increased enrollment?
      • Resources at schools are allocated based on enrollment & needs.
    • 5th graders staying at PQ for 6th grade year, what would their middle school be?
      • A child’s elementary school determines his or her middle school.  A student’s address determines the high school.  In this situation, if the boundary proposal is approved students will be allowed to attend Liberty because they finished at Prairie Queen.  However, the home middle school would be La Vista Middle School and if they so choose, a child could attend LVMS.
    • How does this impact the middle school track?
      • Students that move to Portal elementary will also change their middle school to La Vista Middle School.
    • Will my child have the opportunity to option-enroll at Liberty?
      • It is currently being considered to allow students to request a transfer to Liberty as their middle school.  No official decision has been made.
    • How does this shift impact middle and high school enrollment?
      • There is no impact on high school enrollment because the proposal does not change a child’s high school.  The enrollment impact on La Vista Middle is minor because there are only two grade levels at the middle school.  However, there will be a slight increase in enrollment at La Vista Middle School.
    • Are middle schools and high schools open for enrollment? (In-district transfers)
      • Currently there are transfers accepted between the two high schools. However, the number of students moving must be equal.  If 5 students leave South to go to Monarch, five students must move from Monarch to South.  Currently there is no movement allowed at the middle school.  All students must attend their feeder middle school.  However, it is currently being considered to allow students to request a transfer to Liberty as their middle school.  No official decision has been made.

    Transition and Timeline & Grandfathering

    • What are the plans to help students transition to a new/different school, esp. younger ones?
      • The transition for students during a boundary change is very important.  There is no set plan currently because the proposal has not been finalized.  Once the proposal is finalized, a transition plan will be developed.  Historically, that transition plan may include visits and tours of schools, assigning mentors and an opportunity for parents to get involved in the school.
    • If 5th grade is grandfathered, will siblings get to stay at PQ?
      • The current proposal is to grandfather the 5th grade students only. All siblings of 5th graders are not included in the current proposal.  Expanding grandfathering is one of the suggestions we have received through the input process.
    • Could grandfathering be considered for other grades?
      • This is one of the options that could be considered by the Board of Education.
    • Could enrollment at Portal be optional?
      • This is one of the options that could be considered by the Board of Education.
    • How is the final decision made? Is it a Board vote?
      • The Board of Education will review all of the data collected and discuss options and next step at their Board meeting on October 28 at 6:00 pm in the PLCS Central Office.  The final decision is a Board decision with a vote at a public meeting.  There will be not action taken on the 28th. The Board will determine a timeline for action at the October 28 meeting.
    • When did this discussion begin?
      • Managing growth is something that occurs on a regular basis.  The District and the Board are continually looking at building projects and monitoring enrollment numbers at every school and in every classroom.  Over time, schools that are declining in enrollment and schools that are reaching their capacity are monitored.  The current proposal is one that has been studied for several months prior to a proposal being developed.
    • Will the possibility exist for impacted neighborhoods/parents to open enroll their students into schools of their choice?
      • Currently we allow parents that live in the district to apply for an in-district transfer.  Those transfer requests are granted for any school that is not closed based on space available.  Transfer requests are not accepted at schools that are currently closed.  The closed schools include Prairie Queen, Patriot, Bell, and Walnut Creek.
    • Will there be a boundary transition exception for impacted neighborhoods?
      • That is currently an option that the Board may consider.  
    • Is there a possibility of grandfathering in students with specific special needs?
      • With programs and support systems being consistent across the school district it is unlikely that a student group would be grandfathered for a specific program.  However, the Board of Education is open to considering all feedback.   
    • Will students with special needs be able to visit the school in advance?
      • The transition for students during a boundary change is very important.  There is not a set plan currently because the proposal has not been finalized.  Once the proposal is finalized, a transition plan will be developed.  Historically, that transition plan may include visits and tours of schools, assigning mentors and an opportunity for parents to get involved in the school.

    Future Planning

    • Are we staying ahead of the growth?
      • In a fast growing district, it is continually a challenge to stay ahead of the growth but not too far ahead.  We know that neighborhoods will peak at a much higher enrollment than they will flatten out.  If we built schools for the peak attendance, we would eventually have underused schools throughout the district.  At PLCS we try to find a balance between staying ahead of growth and not falling behind.  An example of that would be opening a new elementary school, with fewer students, knowing we will quickly grow into the school.  
    • What is the likelihood Portal Ridge would be moved again?
      • The focus of the current proposal is to look long range and where the growth is coming from and which schools will be impacted.  The decision to move Portal Ridge, Andover Point and Harrison Hills to Portal was proposed because it is targeted as a long-term decision. 
    • Can boundaries change again? What is the probability of being moved back to Liberty?
      • The goal with this move is to make it a long-term decision. However, in a fast growing school district boundary changes may continue to happen.
    • When did Platteview come into play?
      • PLCS has had working relationship with Platteview for several years. In fact, all of the land surrounding Patriot Elementary and much of the land surrounding Bell Elementary was at one time in the Platteview School District.
    • Is the new grade school being taken up by housing in Platteview land?
      • No. Even without adding additional land from Platteview there are currently nearly 600 students scheduled to attend the new elementary school
    • What about additions from the bond? Has this been considered?
      • Every time there is a bond issue there is an extensive community engagement process.  The goal of the community engagement process is for the community to tell PLCS what they will and will not support in a bond issue.  Expanding the elementary size beyond a 3 unit school has not been a discussion that has been widely supported or pushed by the community.
    • Was growth not taken into consideration at all when new schools were being built? Including size of school?
      • New schools are strategically placed in high growth areas. 
      • In a fast growing district, it is continually a challenge to stay a head of the growth but not too far ahead.  We know that neighborhoods will peak at a much higher enrollment than they will flatten out.  If we built schools for the peak attendance, we would some day have underused schools through out the district.  At PLCS we try to find a balance between staying ahead of growth and not falling behind.  An example of that would be opening a new elementary school, with fewer students, knowing we will quickly grow into the school.  
    • Is this a long-term solution for parents/students in Portal Ridge, Andover, and Harrison Hills?
      • The goal with this proposed boundary change is to make all of the moves long-term solutions.
    • Using growth projections, could we wipe the slate clean and redo all boundaries? (In order to not have to do this again.). Will this keep happening?
      • In a fast growing school district with portions of the district aging, there is no way to avoid boundary changes. 

    Kids Club

    • Will kids club accommodate the “new kids” coming from PQ? Will these kids moving in have priority?
      • If you are currently enrolled in Kids Club, you will be given first priority to register for Kids Club at Portal on the same timeline as the current Portal Kids Club participants. There is currently room at the Portal Kids Club site. It is not full.

    Resources

    • How does the district adjust resources including computers, staffing, classrooms, etc. when these shifts are made?
      • Resources at schools are allocated based on enrollment & needs.
    • Is district transportation to Portal a guarantee?
      • Yes.
    • How many moves will our kids be experiencing?
      • Portal Ridge, Harrison Hills and Andover Point were moved from Portal when Prairie Queen opened, because Portal was overcrowded and Prairie Queen, as a new school had room.  This proposal would include moving these same areas back to Portal now that Prairie Queen is overcrowded and still growing, and Portal’s growth has flattened out. That would make this proposal the second move for these neighborhoods. 
    • What title buildings currently go into Monarchs?
      • There are 5 elementary Title I schools in PLCS with free and reduced lunch populations of 40% or higher.  Three of those schools feed to Monarch and 2 feed to Titans.
    • Can we take a closer look at the new school’s boundaries? Does the green area on the map pay taxes for our school district?
      • The purpose of the community meetings is to collect feedback and input from those impacted.  The boundaries for the new school are certainly something the Board could consider. Once the green area is officially moved into PLCS, they immediately begin paying taxes for PLCS.  Prior to the move they pay taxes in Springfield Platteview.   
    • Does median household income come into play when they figure boundaries?
      • At the elementary level probably the largest factor that comes into play in setting boundaries is the neighborhood school philosophy.  If boundaries can maintain neighborhood schools and help balance Social Economic Status (SES).  That is certainly a factor considered.  At the middle and high school level the SES is a very important factor as boundaries are set or adjusted.