The New School Location
For those of you who need a refresher on the new school site selection history and process, you can find helpful documents here. Of note are the new data showing the results of the community feedback survey. Those can be found here.
The overall winner from the community survey appears to be the Broer-Schaeffer property. Broer-Schaeffer is flat, does not require a large amount of tree removal, is easy to build on, is large enough to allow for expansion in the future, and is bordered by the Reaves property (currently zoned for residential development and likely to become 60 housing lots). Although Forest Hill Irene Road cannot currently accommodate a large increase in traffic, the city has already begun to explore its expansion from Dogwood to Winchester. This road project is scheduled to progress independently of any school board decision. There will be a public input meeting on the road expansion in February, and construction is expected to begin approximately 15 months from now. The city engineer recommends that the railroad crossing be modified to four-quadrant gates. Emergency response time was determined to be a minor issue. If a train is blocking access from the north, then aid would be provided from either the Shelby County Fire Station or from Collierville.
The discussion for the Reaves property was essentially the same as Broer-Schaeffer since they are adjacent to one another. The differences are that Reaves is closer to the railroad tracks, has twice as much dirt to be moved in site preparation and more trees than Broer-Schaeffer.
Johnson Road Park received the lowest public acceptance score. It is worthwhile to note that although the city owns this land, it would not be free from the school district’s perspective. If this site is selected, GMSD will be required to purchase land elsewhere to replace the lost parkland. Unlike the two properties on Forest Hill Irene, where the city has already committed its dollars to road expansion and enhancement, the school district would be on the hook for expanding and improving Johnson Road. These two expenses would come from the school construction bond money, leaving a smaller budget for the building itself. There are a considerable number of trees to remove. Their removal also adds to the cost, since the district would be obligated to replace those trees. Lisa Parker noted that this site is the only one that has a city park adjacent to it, a feature that all other GMSD schools already have. However, the lakes are a hazard and would have to be fenced for safety. They cannot be altered because they are part of the city’s Lateral G drainage project. This site is also the most limited for future expansion.
Warlick was the most polarizing site. Community survey takers seemed to either love it or hate it. The board’s discussion mostly covered accessibility and building cost. There are currently three stub-in roads for this site which could be opened (Washington, Windy Oaks, and Dogwood Trail). The fourth at Maple Grove would not be opened because there is a blue line stream in the southeast corner of the property. These entrances could be designed as limited access roads which would be gated. If gated, they would likely be unlocked for school drop off and pick up, and for required emergency vehicle access. The site mockup showed only one access point on Poplar Avenue, at the Oakleigh traffic signal. City engineers feel this is sufficient, but the board discussed the possibility of also having a second access on Poplar, designed as a right-turn-in/right-turn-out only drive. The Warlick site’s topography is hilly. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for building a school. The board discussed designing the building to make use of the elevation. The school could have a split level or multistory design, built into the hills that would be very unique but potentially expensive. The engineers were clear that any future expansion would have to be planned from the start, since adding on later would otherwise be very difficult. It is worthy to note here that the owner of this property has a strong desire to sell, so it will not remain undeveloped.
The Board will vote to move forward with one of these properties on January 30th. The district and city will then put an option on a property. The district has been working to update its 10 year projection for student population growth and capital needs. The completed study will be part of their presentation to the Board of Aldermen in March. Linda Fisher and Superintendent Manuel stressed that the city is still working to secure the 3G schools. The city goes to the bond market in July, and GMSD hopes to receive somewhere between $20-25 million to spend on a new school. If the city is able to purchase Germantown Elementary and/or Germantown Middle before July, the option on any school site could be allowed to expire. But if the 10-year study shows that a fifth elementary school is needed in the future, the land purchase is likely to proceed.
And Other Things
Also on the agenda is GMSD's participation in the Tennessee DOE's new program called Tennessee Teacher Leader Network which will develop a new staffing model based on state standards, teacher evaluations, and RTI2. Dan Haddow's report on the program can be found here. Since this fall, four GMSD employees have been participating: Joseph Bond from Riverdale, Shamira Davis from GMSD, Joye Phipps from Dogwood, and Courtney Watkins from Houston Middle. Mr. Haddow recommends that the grant for the project be divided equally among the four GMSD employees participating.
A variety of policy amendments were discussed. Mostly, the changes were to clarify policies to match current procedures. The list of policy amendments can be found below:
- Revised IP 4.502 Parental and Family Involvement
- Revised Policy IP 4.600 Grading
- Revised Policy IP 4.602 Honor Roll Awards Class Ranking
- Revised IP 4.700 Testing Programs.02
- Revision SP 6.200 Attendance, Pregnancy and Truancy (2017)
- SP 6.309 Zero Tolerance Offenses Revision
- SP 6.409 Child Abuse and Neglect Revision (2017)
- SP 6.414 Guidance and School Counseling Revision (2017)
The board also discussed a new policy on granting students equal access to school facilities for all clubs including those of a religious nature. More details can be found here.
Next school meeting is set for January 30th at 6:00pm in City Hall.