June 19, 2013 - A Demographic Task Force established last week by the Board of Education to study Lindbergh Schools' aggressive enrollment growth is expected to take roughly four months to complete its work.
The Board of Education voted unanimously June 11 to establish the Demographic Task Force, formalizing a decision it had made by consensus during a June 1 workshop.
Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett told the board, "... We know over the last decade we've had residential student enrollment growth. The next five years we're projecting significant residential student growth, somewhere in the neighborhood of probably 500 students. That's ... students moving into the district because of a turnover in housing. We've seen some of our older members of our community moving to retirement centers. Their houses are becoming available.
"We also have some construction taking place in the district that's going to bring new students to us. Being No. 1 in the state (in academic achievement) for three years in a row has also been quite the draw ... We also know it's our responsibility to make sure that all those students who come to us, we're able to give the best possible education that we can. Our community also expects us to do that with manageable class sizes as small as possible and facilities that meet the needs of our students ...," the chief financial officer added.
The Demographic Task Force has been charged with studying and proposing solutions to the district's rapidly expanding enrollment, particularly at the elementary level. The panel will be comprised of roughly 50 people, including residents, staff, faculty and parents, Triplett said.
The task force will begin work shortly after the start of school, and is expected to make its recommendations sometime in late December or early January.
The new Demographic Task Force is modeled on one that was established in October 2007 to study overcrowding at Sperreng Middle School, Triplett said. That panel's recommendation led to Proposition 2008, a $31 million bond issue that voters approved in November 2008.
While Sperreng remained a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, funds from Prop R 2008 were used to convert Truman Elementary School to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, add onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools, convert Concord School to an elementary school and construct the new Early Childhood Education center.
"... We want to ensure the community is with us, both understands our needs, but also tells us what they want and what they're willing to support, so we're moving forward — the entire group — as a united community to do this," Triplett said. "All of the space that we developed and built from the last bond issue is filled ..."
At the June 1 workshop, the board's discussion focused on opening a sixth elementary school on the roughly 10-acre site of the Dressel School building. The district closed on the $1.94 million purchase of the property in July 2011. Opening a new elementary school would require voter approval of a bond issue to fund construction and an increase in the district's operational tax-rate to hire more teachers.
In a separate matter, the board voted unanimously to adopt the district's 2013-2014 operating budget that projects expenditures of $61,576,532 with anticipated revenues of $61,581,211 — a surplus of $4,679.