Schools: Task force proposes two new schools, 12 additions, eight closures

Online Staff Report

Rockford Public School District 205’s Facilities Task Force has agreed to recommend a 10-year facilities plan to the Rockford Board of Education that includes building two new schools and 12 additions, and closing eight schools. The recommendation goes to the board for a first reading July 8, with a board vote Aug. 12.

The recommended plan would cost $250 million and is a revision of Plan C.

Plans have gone through several revisions based on community feedback. New schools would be built to consolidate Kishwaukee and Nelson into one building, and Thompson, White Swan and Cherry Valley into a second new building. Sites for the new buildings have not yet been announced. School zones would be drawn by an independent demographer.

The elementary footprint would shrink to 29 schools by closing eight schools, including Cherry Valley Elementary; Dennis Early Childhood Center; King Elementary; Kishwaukee Elementary; Nelson Elementary; Thompson Elementary; Walker Elementary; and White Swan Elementary.

The committee has not recommended plans for the closed schools, but the budget for this plan includes the cost of demolition.

A time frame also has not been settled for any school closures, consolidations or new construction. No changes would happen for the 2014-15 school year.

The Renaissance Gifted Academy would move to a campus in the city’s northwest. The elementary gifted students would attend school in the Haight building (where Montessori’s elementary programming is now housed) with Thurgood Marshall School housing the upper grade levels. The Montessori program (Pre-K through eighth grades) would move to Marsh Elementary School, where an addition would be built. Washington School, which today houses the elementary gifted program, would become a zone elementary school.

Under the task force recommendation, Lathrop Elementary School would remain open instead of becoming an Early Childhood Center. Instead, Beyer Elementary School would serve Early Childhood students. Nashold would also become an Early Childhood center. Other Early Childhood Centers in this plan are Summerdale and Fairview (current Pre-K centers).

The task force committee meets again at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 2, at the Administration Building, 501 Seventh St.

The community is invited to a meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 22, in the third-floor board room of the Administration Building, 501 Seventh St. Administrators and representatives from the Facilities Task Force will be present to discuss the plan.

Posted June 30, 2014

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