Rockford schools: Facilities Task Force considering community’s feedback

June 2, 2014
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Online Staff Report

The Rockford Public Schools’ Facilities Task Force meets again this week to address the feedback the community offered during more than 40 meetings last month. The Facilities Task Force Steering Committee met Friday, May 30, and reviewed more than 500 community feedback forms with input on plans for the district’s elementary school upgrades in the next 10 years.

Administrators and the Task Force in May held 39 public meetings, plus meetings with area organizations about three plans that outline changes to RPS elementary schools, including the construction of new schools, additions, major renovations and school consolidations.

The community provided a lot of input about each of the plans, including questions, concerns, criticism and praise, said RPS Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. Administrators don’t want to rush the process. Initial plans to present a plan to the school board June 10 were delayed. The Task Force hopes to make a recommendation to the full school board June 24, with a vote July 8. (Read more about the plans at rps205.com/betterschools.)

This has been a collaborative process with the community and the Taskforce, and we’ve received some constructive feedback and some genuine excitement for the future of our facilities,” Jarrett said.

May 30, the Task Force reviewed some common themes from the feedback, such as support for new schools, concerns with deferred maintenance, school size, closures and building shutdown, equity, and the neighborhood impact of each of the plans.

The Task Force will continue working to develop a plan to address the community’s concerns at its meeting this week at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 4, in the basement of the Administration Building, 501 Seventh St. Meetings are also scheduled for June 11 and June 18, although no time as been set.

The committee plans to make a recommendation to the full school board at its June 24 meeting. A decision could come at the July 8 meeting. No changes will come in the 2014-15 school year.

Posted June 2, 2014

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