New school plan goes to board

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, April 9, 2011

A plan to build a new school is set to go to the school board.

A community task force will bring its plan to solve the school district’s increasing enrollment issues to the school board Monday during the monthly board meeting. The largest part of the proposal is a new school specifically for fifth- and sixth-graders.

“We believe this plan gives us enough flexibility and enough options,” said Mark Stotts, district finance and operations director. “As long as we stay under this recommendation, we can address all (concerns).”

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Under the plan, elementary schools would host first- through fourth-grades and Ellis would host seventh- and eighth-grade, which would take care of space concerns at the elementary and middle school levels.

Where task force members disagree is whether the new school should be built next to Ellis on land the district already owns or somewhere else in the city.

The plan would also involve an expansion at Woodson Elementary School, where up to 20 classes would be added, a remodel would be done and the school would shift its main office closer to the entrance.

If the board approves the task force’s plan, the public would vote on the referendum in November. District officials estimated the plan’s rough cost to be about $34 million. The increase would vary depending on the value of a home, but Stotts said people who own homes valued at $125,000 could expect a tax increase of about $100 in a bond referendum.

One of the task force stipulations is that district officials don’t pursue any project more than $30 million, however. They also want district officials to analyze how whatever solution board members decide on would affect the district’s finances and operations before moving forward.

Board members will also reveal the results of Austin Superintendent David Krenz’s annual review during Monday’s board meeting as well. While in previous years board members chose different methods to evaluate the superintendent, a new process was decided upon in January.

The new process involves giving out a 360 review, which is a feedback survey given to employees. It’s commonly used by human resource professionals, according to Mary Burroughs, the district’s human resource director.

The 360 review allows district employees who work closely with Krenz to give their opinions on how well the superintendent does his job without revealing themselves. The board chair and superintendent chose who to send out 360 reviews to. These 360 reviews are meant for feedback, as the board will go through a final review process after receiving the 360 review results.