In planning how to best serve the needs of a growing community and increasing student enrollment, the Pulaski Community School District will take its direction from the community, according to PCSD Board President Michael Voelker.
"This is a community task. We all have a voice, and we all share a responsibility for deciding how we all are going to meet the needs of our kids, our families, and our community as a whole going forward," Voelker said.
To that end, the district held the first of several listening sessions at Hillcrest on Feb. 9.
Superintendent Allison Space said, “We’re really fortunate because most school districts are declining in their enrollment.” That’s not the case with the PCSD, Space noted, citing an enrollment study prepared for the district by MD Roffers that projects PCSD gaining 500 additional students by 2035.
Clinton Selle from Bray Architects walked the nearly 40 people in the Hillcrest cafeteria through the process the district has gone through, thus far, as well as options for each school building, tax levy impacts and a potential timeline for a referendum, should the Board of Education elect to schedule one. (The Bray Architects slideshow is available at the email address listed below.)
Those in attendance were able to ask questions throughout the 90-minute session. They were also given the opportunity to submit written questions. And, Space said, a link will be added to the page listed below for the public to ask questions.
Feedback from the community included questions about the community survey, the possibility of changing school borders and what will be done to accommodate the current Hillcrest overcrowding.
The community survey will be conducted by School Perceptions this spring. Each household will have the chance to participate and if several in the household want to do so accommodations can be made for that.
Voelker noted that the district tries to keep students attending grade schools closest to where they live. And, Selle added, if families are stretched too far from home, they might consider alternate educational opportunities.
PCSD Facilities director Nick Phillips said the district is adding four temporary classrooms next school year at Hillcrest. Every bit of space at Hillcrest is currently being used. Many spaces are being used for purposes not originally intended including locker rooms for storage and instruction space, storage areas for offices and the gymnasium for music instruction, among other examples.
"Our district is growing, and that's a great situation to be in," Voelker said. "That growth says PCSD is a place people want to be. It’s a place they want their kids to go to school, it’s where they want to live, it’s where they want to make a home."
The timeline of building plans could involve putting a referendum to question to the public in the November 2022 election. Additional details can be found on the district's website.
Future listening sessions will be Feb. 23 at Pulaski High School and March 1 at Sunnyside Elementary, followed by the district-wide survey that will be sent to all households.
To view more documents regarding district facilities, go to: https://www.pulaskischools.org/business/facilities-projects.