By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools officials want to know your thoughts on what direction the district should take regarding the grade configurations of possible future new school buildings for its elementary and middle school students.
The Groveport Madison Board of Education is considering placing a bond issue on either the November 2018 or spring 2019 ballot to fund the construction of new school buildings in the district.
Currently the district has a high school, three grade 6-8 middle schools and six grade K-5 elementaries. These schools and the year they were built are: Asbury Elementary, 1963; Dunloe Elementary, 1967; Madison Elementary, 1967; Glendening Elementary, 1968; Sedalia Elementary, 1969; Groveport Elementary, 1923; Middle School Central, 1952-56; Middle School North, 1975; and Middle School South, 1975. Groveport Elementary and Middle School Central are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The current 50-year-old high school will be demolished in the summer of 2018 and the new high school will open in the fall of 2018.
The board has discussed moving away from the elementary and middle school concept and instead possibly building three 180,000 square foot schools, each situated on 24 to 34 acres of land, that would each house 1,400 to 1,600 students in grades K-8. If pursued, this plan would reduce the number of schools in the district from 10 to four.
However, the board has not yet decided on what building plan to pursue or what date to place a possible bond issue on the ballot to fund new buildings.
Groveport Madison contracted with Hanover Research, an education research firm, to conduct an electronic survey of the district’s staff, parents, and community members. The survey would gather information and input from the public regarding facilities, programming, building grade configurations, and other related topics such as community learning centers, trust in district leadership, and the future of the district. Options for building grade configurations include: K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and high school; K-5, 6-8, and high school; K-6, 7-8, and high school; and K-8 and high school.
According to Tony Guadagni, content director for Hanover Research, the electronic survey would be launched by late January with results available by March 1.
Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner said the electronic survey could be either on the district’s website at gocruisers.org or Hanover Research’s website. Potential survey respondents could be informed on where and how to complete the survey by email (the district currently has about 4,500 email addresses that include staff, students, parents, and community members), through the district’s website, newspaper ads, and/or possibly mailings.
“I think we can reach a substantial number of people,” said Guadagni.
Board members Nancy Gillespie and Libby Gray said they want to see cost differential information regarding the building grade configuration options included in the survey.
“People need to know how it could affect their pocketbook,” said Gray.
Board President Bryan Shoemaker observed that it would be cheaper for the district to build fewer buildings and that future operational costs would also be less expensive with fewer school buildings to maintain.