Community Forum Report

  • Bond Issue Proposal Community Forum
    November 6 & 8 2017 
    Executive Summary Room Discussion

    The information below is an executive summary of the notes collected in each of the breakout rooms during the forums.  The data includes themes obtained from both nights collectively.

    Strengths:
    Stem/ Skilled Trade Classroom Enhancement

    • Like forward thinking of growing opportunities in this area
    • Need for enhanced opportunities

    Safety & Security

    • Support enhancing safety and security throughout district
    • Safety of students should be priority

    Well Thought-out Plan – Forward Thinking

    • Like projects span across all levels.
    • Believe growth and overall plan was well thought out and explained.

    High School Expansion

    • Equitable for both high schools
    • Like 9th grade wing


    Concerns:
    Pool /Non-Instructional Space

    • Does cost justify the number of students impacted?
    • What about community use – can they use or is there a different community solution?

    Security Enhancements Everywhere

    • Should all schools have the same secure entrance?
    • Are we creating inequities by not addressing security issues throughout entire District?

    Need More Information about Financing

    • What is length of current bonds and new bonds?
    • Are there other options for funding?
    • How is the prioritization of projects determined? Who decides if something is cut?

    Growth Concerns

    • Is this enough? Only one elementary?
    • Will portables still be needed?

     

    Executive Summary Survey Forms

    The information below is an executive summary of the survey forms submitted at the forum only.  The data includes themes obtained from both nights collectively.

    82 Surveys completed - (only 71 completed rating)
    3.87 – Average score (1-5 scale)

    • 45 - yes votes
    • 4 - no votes
    • 22 – undecided


    Strengths:
    Safety & Security

    • Support enhancing safety and security throughout the District

    Well Thought-out Plan – Forward Thinking

    • Like projects span across all levels.
    • Need more space for growth – forward thinking

    Stem/ Skilled Trade Classroom Enhancement

    • Need for enhanced opportunities for all students

    High School Expansion

    • Equitable for both high schools
    • Visionary planning for third HS if needed
    • Like 9th grade wing


    Concerns:
    Pool

    • Does cost justify the number of students impacted?
    • Why is it not used in PE?
    • What about community use – can they use or is there a different community solution?

    Some concerns about non-instructional space in general but not significant

    Proposal too conservative – Need more space

    • Is one elementary school enough?

    Timeline

    • What is the priority of the projects?
    • What will happen with construction during the school year?
    • How long to complete?

    Cost

    • Proposal is too much money
    • How do we know the costs are valid?

     

    Bond Issue Proposal Community Forum
    November 6, 2017  PLSHS
    Raw Data – As collected at the forum

    Group: B
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Security
    • Classroom space for trades/STEM
    • Map helpful to demonstrate growth and timing
    • Expansion of dining areas; specifically elementary. Using “real plates/silverware
    • Land acquisition now avoids additional cost of purchase later
    • Building on to current high school instead of a 3rd high school
    • Projections well studied; immediate needs being addressed first
    • Focus on futures beyond with multifaceted opportunities in high school by STEM and different trades.
    • Planning ahead for technology
    • Looking at all levels; needs of District
    • Adding/updating Anderson Grove


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Remove non-instructional space
      Why a pool at South when we can share with Monarchs?
    • Will expansion of cafeteria expansion change staffing needs; hours, locations, tasks?
    • Challenges in past of passing bond issues?
      • Historical perspective; best time to move forward?
    • What happens if we exceed the bond amount?
      • If we pass at $115 M and it costs $130 M, who absorbs the extra cost?
    • Is there a neutral number so taxes wouldn’t go up?
    • Is the new Elementary going to be big enough? Concern about portable classrooms.
    • Why build as you go? Please explain.
    • Last bond, 6 years ago. What is the duration of this bond?
    • Can it go before voters as either or both?
    • Great they are looking at pool, but we have a great pool and teams work together
    • Uses for pool? What other gains besides swim team?
    • Will every elementary have the controlled entrance (man trap)?
      • If not, can we add the controlled entrances at the elementaries left without?
    • Who came up with original list? Were there other changes that didn’t make the list?
    • Take the pool out and put controlled entrances in.
    • Why stop at $115 M? What is maximum amount people will say “too much”?


    Group:  D
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Increasing the security for all schools, particularly in the elementary schools.
    • Very thorough and informative growth projections/statistics.
    • Balancing needs throughout the grade level spectrum.
    • Improvement of technology.
    • Pool: There is value in learning how to swim.  It’s a life skill.
    • There is value in extracurricular activities/facilities.


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Projections for growth seem skewed. Market valuations will be different in the coming years.  Growth may occur toward the west, but we never took into account growth in Springfield.  We’re making assumptions about growth that aren’t accurate.
    • Taxes are outrageous.
    • How will this plan increase our growth? Our schools aren’t ranked as high as others in the area.
    • We’re being asked to pay for schools in areas that are currently undeveloped.
    • Only one new elementary school mentioned.
    • Disappointing to see that some elementary schools won’t receive certain security features/upgrades.
    • Security features in PLCS are lacking compared with other districts in other areas of the country; not enough measures are included with this proposal.
    • Unclear as to timetable for implementation of the proposal.
    • Unclear as to status of previous bonds and how they interrelate with the new proposed bond.
    • Doubts about how our schools are performing compared with other schools in the tri-state area. Unclear as to whether the schools are teaching students information that is applicable to relevant pursuits.  We need greater population growth—less “brain drain”—to raise revenue.  More funding for in-classroom learning and less for activities.
    • The pool is a “want,” not a “need.”
    • No need for meeting facilities on the football field. Identify priorities—close to the actual learning process.


    Questions:

    • Whose idea was it to propose a pool for a high school? There is already a community pool in the works elsewhere.
    • Why does one high school have pool and the other doesn’t?
    • Why not allow the private sector to take the lead on pool construction/maintenance?
    • How much would it cost to have a man box implemented at the five elementary schools unaffected by the bond issue?
    • What are the priorities, what is the timeline, for implementation of the bond issue?
    • What is the status of current bonds we are paying for?
    • What would be the timetable for payment of the proposed bond?
    • What will the teachers receive under the proposed bond? Where is their reward?  A raise?  Incentive pay?
    • Would an individual student’s schedule be affected by a ninth grade wing? Will students spend a block of time in the wing vs. time spent in the general student population?
    • It seems like there is already a block of 9th grade classrooms (at P-L South). How would the proposed wing be any different?
    • Were there ever talks about moving 6th grade elementary students to the middle level?
    • Does the school district have input regarding city growth/development?
    • What is the timetable for bond payment? What is the status of current bonds?


    Group:  Room G
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Safety of students
    • Technology updates
    • New elementary school
    • Fixing up other elementaries
    • Pool – impact to program, joining other Class A schools
    • Flexibility when planning for future/activity facilities/multi-purpose room space (weight room currently a concern, etc)
    • Bringing trades back, dedicating space, for students who are not college-bound or not interested in those opportunities
    • Flexibility of purchasing land now
    • More room in schools, less crowded hallways
    • Meeting space at Foundation Field


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Pool, concern with small number of students who participate in program/cost
    • Growth in south and west – concern using taxpayer money where there isn’t growth/concern with keeping it same among high schools
    • Concern with need to put more money into new middle school (Liberty)
    • Land acquisition when unsure of plans for third high school
    • Overall cost
    • Concern with construction effecting class time (not completed during summer/disruption)


    Questions:

    • Can you provide more details on the trade space – what will look like, what include?
    • What trades? What options have been explored? Academy?
    • Have we explored options for donation of land instead of buying land?
    • What is thought on location for new high school? New middle school?
    • Why is the pool listed as non-instructional space? (Other school districts use for instruction.)  2
    • Can you further explain the meeting space at Foundation Field and how it will be used?
    • Have we looked at projections of numbers at current elementary before we add on or renovate existing elementary schools? (gentrification)
    • Now that the Learning Community is no longer, have we taken into consideration the extra money the district will be getting?
    • Has the LC money already been earmarked for other things?
    • What is the backup plan if this proposal is not approved? Rest
    • What is the life of this bond?
    • Has the district considered separating this into chunks? ($115 million)
    • What is class size compared to other Class A schools in area?


    Group H
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Numerous elementary schools that need to be restructured (additional rooms, safety, technology)
    • A plan for the future with the growth of the community
    • Pool
    • Elementary plan- everyone agreed to the changes
    • STEM addition
    • Expansion of the parking will help reduce some stress getting into and out.


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • No documentation that Liberty Middle School was going to be built at 700-800 capacity
    • 9th grade wing- students will feel separated
    • STEM wing- not many students currently in STEM
    • Previous bond had some of the things in regards to Rumsey Station, security, technology infrastructure that were not completed
    • Building a third high school comes many other things (staff, staff salaries)
    • High School addition- 2 vs 3

    **Most of our concerns where questions. 

    Questions:

    • Further communication about where the fine arts will be.
    • If we grow our buildings, what will be the population of the two high schools?
    • Are we going to turn Papillion into a Millard school system with the increase of students? Are our students going to get lost in the system?
    • How do we ensure students will be able to participate in activities?
    • Was the original proposal for the size of the school was at 700-800 students but it was built smaller than stated?
    • Why wasn’t the pool built when the high school was original built?
    • How will we promote STEM?
    • Where did the money go from the previous bond for items that were listed and didn’t get completed?
    • What’s the plan for increasing devices at the secondary level?
    • Activity room- It is very tiny and dangerous. All students use the room.   What’s the plan for the activity room, how does that affect the training center and weights?
    • Is there a plan to have the PowerPoint available to the public?
    • Are students being asked for input?
    • How competitive can you be in Class A with three high schools?
    • If bond passes, what are projection completion dates?


    Group I
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Safety and security
    • Planning for the future – safety
    • Continuing to expand so that class sizes are kept low
    • Expansion and updates of schools
    • Addresses the arts – space for the arts, band, music
    • Glad the arts is a part of the plan – kids need opportunities to be a part of the arts
    • 9th grade wing at HS level
    • Pool at PLSHS – more opportunities for kids
    • STEM build out – IT and technology very important, hiring constantly, can’t keep enough staff in IT field
    • Trade skills – looking for skilled technicians/skilled labor, trades need to be taught
    • College and career readiness
    • ROTC practice space
    • Emphasis on expansion at both schools – keeping in mind that we are one district, equity in programs, balance to both sides of community
    • Fiscally responsible way to address the growth of both high schools – the tax base will grow as the money is needed, gradual levy of the funds, staying ahead of the growth


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness? Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • People on fixed incomes are concerned about their property taxes. This will be a selection of the population that will need to be targeted.
    • Teacher recruitment is a concern – traveling teachers, teachers that do not have a classroom space
    • Keeping the quality of the teachers we have with the growth


    Questions to be answered?

    • With the expansion, will LMS feed just to PLSHS?
    • Is that enough elementary space? Need for more than one?
    • Will middle schools move to grades 6,7,8?
    • Are we being aggressive enough? Are we building enough buildings to support the growth? We have portables at many new buildings, so are we being too conservative with buildings?
    • Military impact? Does the movement of military families stay steady?
    • Are they looking to do a 1:1 with HS students?
    • IB program in the future?
    • Activity room/flexible learning space at the high school levels?
    • Safety considerations for the PLSHS weight room? As we are adding students will these spaces be addressed?
    • After we do all of this building, will we be able to sustain the large number buildings or will they eventually sit empty?


    Top Priority?
    The top priority from this group is make sure we address the concerns of the community members that no longer have students in the schools.

    Top Question that the group wants answered?
    Is one elementary enough to support the growth? We have many portables at many new schools, is this enough to address the growth?

     

    Bond Issue Proposal Community Forum
    November 8, 2017  PLHS
    Raw Data – As collected at the forum

    Group: A
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Concern for safety for students and staff
    • Purchasing land for future development
    • Purchase land when at a more reasonable price
    • Opportunities for skilled trades and stem
    • Keep costs low as possible/no special ballot
    • Building on pre-existing school rather than building a whole new school to save costs


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Alternate financing- opening up to public bonds or tax payer funded
    • Details of the financing are completely missing…we know what we want to buy, but we don’t know how the mechanisms on how the financing will work?
    • Why are there multiple principals in a school when there used to be only one?
    • What is the purpose of replacing the cross walk between the PMS and the Central Office?
    • Have we looked at other cost savings within the budget before asking the public for more money? Are there other locations where we can find money to cut rather than having a $115 million bond?
    • Does this bond apply to administrative salaries or other salaries?
    • Are there any ongoing bonds that we are still paying for?
    • Will this bond lead to future boundary changes to meet the growing need?
    • Is the swimming pool a need or a want?
    • How can we add a mantrap to all the schools including the five schools not listed in the proposal?
    • How about we get rid of some of these principals we don’t need and hire an armed guard?
    • How was the overpass paid for?
    • If we reuse existing blueprints to save money, will we find ourselves needing to make costly modifications as school needs adjust.
    • Are we making changes and decisions to buildings to make the community feel better or do they truly add appropriate security?
    • Are there silent alarm systems within the elementary schools?
    • Can we have an itemized list of administrative salaries and teacher salaries?
    • How can we access an itemized list of how the District spends its money?
    • Is separating the 9th graders from the rest of the high school the best way to support the flow within the high school?
    • What will the experience for the students be like while construction projects are happening at the schools? Will the learning conditions be negatively impacted?
    • What is the rationale of having the finishing kitchens?
    • How can we use the space beyond the practice field to support the tennis courts?
    • What will this expansion do to the existing boundaries?
    • Is this money going to be spent to improve reading levels?
    • How much was the kitchen at Liberty Middle School?
    • Does the bond include operating costs?
    • How does the new construction support future cost savings?
    • Where is all the money going?


    Questions:

    • See above.


    Group: E
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Emphasis on STEM and technology – agreed
    • Elementary – finish kitchens
    • Space hall and classroom space
    • Safety focus
    • 9th grade edition at PLHS
    • Growth focus and map visual
    • Pool -yes agreed; transportation costly ROTC mentioned too
    • Cafeteria space is needed; early lunches – brunch
    • STEM addition is very positive; more STEM offerings and space and not a pool to even offer more options and funnel more money in that direction
    • Counselors doing a great job but back in the day it was 4 year 4 year and that is not
    • Importance noted on all front of what is being proposed, including the pool – safety, maintained, class space etc. ALL important


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • ALL schools being “safe” – man traps
    • No pool to balance cost for the man traps cost
    • Pool cost – it’s a non-instructional space; clarify cost of just the pool (7.2 M)… the pool use is not going to be used via the curriculum;
    • Swimming is a life skill – list as a community resource;
    • New nata torium….La Vista cost….need clarity with pool, tennis courts, community center, etc.
    • Staffing can’t be in the bond and must be paid for in the General fund
    • 300 more students and additional parking doesn’t seem to match the need along with the parking need; Won’t more parking be needed?
    • Proposal for land purchase; needs a timeline to determine the need; where would the funds go for the sale of that land (bonus for all 😊 – teasing of course)
    • Clarify if all kitchens have fruit and vegetable optons


    Questions:

    • Why wouldn’t the pool be used in the curriculum?
    • How can we utilize community resources for non-instructional and community supports?
    • Where would more space for parking be at PLHS based on need and growth?
    • What would the bond total be at no tax increase to the home owners? Is it 99 110 M…etc? 5 people
    • If we add a 3rd HS, would that have a pool and if so, would that be then 2 pools on a bond at a much greater cost 10-15 years from now? 3 people
    • What would the cost savings be to build a new HS now as opposed to now than later? 1
    • Won’t more kitchen space be needed too with more kids? Seating etc.
    • Explain “why” the expansion of the cafeteria at the HS is needed over that of the finishing kitchens at the elementary level.
    • More information is needed on the cost break down of the elementary buildings; to that of the HS cafeteria cost break down; Menu items consumer satisfaction, etc. 2 people
    • Where is the potential for land of for the MS and HS? When might there be another bond issue to address this? 2 people


    Group: H
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Communication, There isn’t a lot of mystery or rumors. 
    • The effect they are addressing the overcrowding.
    • I like that they are addressing the safety issues.
    • I like as an IT guy that it is being addressed. Tech is only going to get faster.
    • Another safety and security. Equalizing the security at all elementary schools.
    • I like STEM and the fact that they will expand the program and address the trades.
    • I also like the fact that the design keeps 9th graders separate. My son cannot use his locker.  The halls are too crowded. 
    • The Boards forward planning and looking at how to possibly secure land and consider size of our elementary schools. Ideal sizes should be under 450
    • I like how cafeterias are being addressed. At Portal lunch is nuts and they cannot eat.
    • I like how they are closing the elementary classes. As a parent that frightens me the most. The thought that someone could get to students without a door is alarming.
    • As a student who comes to PLHS. I want to make the STEM academy grow.


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Parking, what are they going to do at PLHS.
    • Specifics about the man trap?
    • ****The pool, do we really have that many swimmers and a need that we cannot keep one team? We have ROTC that goes to south. Why cant we do that with swim?  Can we use it generate funds?  My concern is that it isn’t used in the curriculum.  I seems like a lot of money for something not used during the school day.
    • It seems like a lot of projects to take on at once. There seems to be 8 to 10 projects all going on at once.
    • Is there certain projects that have a certain priority? How will they get this all completed?
    • We will set aside money to buy land. Do we know where they would purchase this land?
    • How will you manage the construction site and ensure that it is safe for students?
    • How will construction impact the learning environment? Example was LVMS and it was loud.
    • Why would we not expand all of the kitchens and elementary schools? Why not do them all?
    • ****Timeline – How long? How to make it safe?
    • HAL it seems to be shuffled around.  I wish there was a permanent place for HAL.   HAL might have more students that the swim team. 


    Questions:

    • Timeline of what will be completed when? **
    • What will the expansion of the STEM look like?
    • Monarch parking?
    • Which projects are top priority? **
    • How will the district maintain safety/security during construction?
    • Why not add the last five buildings now for safety/security/kitchens?
      • If not now, when?
    • HAL serves a growing population of our students, how are we meeting those facility needs?


    Group: C
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Thrilled about new additions at AG and safety at all locations
    • Greater variety of options for students (trades etc.)
    • Spread the wealth across many schools
    • Glad to see that the pool is back on the bond
    • Maximize the space for two high schools prior to going to a third high school with those expenses
    • Getting the land now is important
    • Proactive looking to the future in lieu of reactive. Looking at the whole picture.
    • Adding STEM spaces in the high schools was important


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Do we ever set aside money for future projects and maintenance versus bond issue monies
    • Pool was on the bond during the South high bond project. Need a better explanation of how dollars were spent
    • Want to make sure that we get what we pay for.
    • Not an equitable use of the foundation field by Monarch high sports (outside of football) Non-instructional space could be used for more of a community use. 
    • Redistribute the bond monies that are currently set for a meeting space at foundation field
    • Review bidding proposals and include the ability to reject bids
    • Why is pool being labeled a non-instructional space, should it be part of the curriculum
    • Who has the discretion to determine which items are removed from the bond if there is an overage or a shortfall in available funds/bid
    • Transparency of bids and process
    • Ensure that community engagement is properly communicated to the community


    Questions:

    • How are you going to ensure that the public is kept aware of the bond process and that there is an accountability as to how the bond dollars are spent. Should decisions need to be made


    Group: J
    Question 1: After hearing the presentation, what do you think are the strengths of the current bond issue proposal?

    • Security enhancements are needed.


    Question 2: As you look at the proposal, what do you see as areas of concern or weakness?  Are there things you would like to see changed?

    • Safety measures at buildings unaffected by bond – Man Traps
    • Inequality among enhancements – some schools not receiving any
    • Uncertainty about extracurricular improvements
    • Uncertainty regarding actual costs
    • Concern about status of current bonds.
    • Will there be weight room improvement?
    • Concern about a repeat of Liberty. (an addition so soon after)
    • Infrastructure – parking lots.
    • Transportation concerns for activities between schools.


    Questions:

    • How do we know that additions will be final with this bond? More additions soon after these would be bad.
    • When was the last bond issue?
    • What are the specifics of the technology enhancements? Online learning?
    • With technology enhancements be adaptable to future needs?
    • Green space preservation?
    • How will parking space be maintained at Monarchs?
    • What is the cost of the meeting space at the stadium?
    • Will ROTC unit remain unified?
    • What’s the time table/prioritization for projects?
    • What is the status of past bond issues?
    • Can we see past bond issue finances?