Facilities Planning Update

Thriving Through Transition: Addressing Critical Challenges

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July 9th Community Information Session Presentation

Message to Families: Capital Improvement Plan

July 9, 2024

The School District of Cudahy in partnership with PSI, created the capital improvement plan This team includes the superintendent, two board members, the Director of Buildings and Grounds, the Director of Community Recreation and Athletics, and the Director of Business Services. The plan is broken out by building, and a potential funding source is identified for each item. Each item was also given a priority ranking. The district is using this plan to inform its decision-making regarding potential referendums.

School District of Cudahy Capital Improvement Plan

Message To Families: Community Input Sessions

June 26,2024

The School District of Cudahy will hold two community sessions for individuals interested in possible changes to school building configurations in the district as identified by the results from a District-wide community survey. The purpose of the one-hour community session is to share information and gather feedback.

MEETING DETAILS

The sessions are on July 9, 2024, at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Cudahy High School in the Student Lounge adjoining the library. The high school is located at 4950 S. Lake Drive. Please park in the student parking lot located on the south side of the building.

The sessions are duplicates. Please attend only one session.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can send your comments to the following email: info@cudahysd.org.

FORMAT

Learn: A brief presentation will review the facts and background on the decisions facing the Board and this community.

Share: These will be facilitated sessions. Participants will be organized into small groups and asked to respond to focused input questions.

BACKGROUND

Facility decision-making has been an ongoing process, anticipated to lead to a November referendum. No decisions have been made. A recent community survey has given the Board more information about community preferences. We’ve adopted a mantra - “Thriving through Transition.”

The input gathered will help the Board and administrative team better understand the family and staff perspectives before deciding on a final configuration later in July. Through your input, we will identify concerns, proactively respond and plan, and indeed, Thrive Through Transition.

Sincerely,

Karen Savaglia

Superintendent, Designee

School District of Cudahy Community Survey Report

June 24, 2024

Click on the graphic below to view the community survey results presented by School Perceptions at the June 24, 2024 Regular Board Meeting

Message to Families: Survey Results

We hope this message finds you enjoying our wonderful Wisconsin summer. This email is written to help keep you informed about the ongoing efforts of the District and Board of Education as we continue the facility planning work this summer.

The results of the recent Community Survey will be shared at the Regular Board Meeting on June 24, 2024. No board action will be taken at this meeting. Ultimately, the survey results will be an important part of the decision-making process. The survey presentation will be posted on our school district website on June 25th.

We are planning a “conversation” on July 9, 2024 for families and staff to discuss possible changes to our school buildings based on the survey results. We’ve adopted a mantra - "Thriving through Transition.” The purpose will be to share information and hear from you so that we can indeed Thrive through Transition, no matter what direction the Board decides.

We are still working out the details about this opportunity and information will be sent to your email after the June 24, 2024 Regular Board Meeting.

Here is the anticipated timeline for upcoming work:

  • June 24: Community Survey Results presented at Regular Board Meeting

  • June 25: Community Survey Results presentation posted on the District website

  • July 9: Community conversation opportunity related to survey results

  • July 22: Board workshop to discuss the survey results, other facts, and considerations to determine the final option that will move forward for action

  • Late July/Early August: Board reviews resolution - if pursued. (Referendum resolutions are due to clerk(s) no less than 70 days before the election date)

  • September 1 - November 5: Public information communication

  • November 5: General Election Day

We are committed to keeping you informed throughout this process and thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Sincerely,

Karen Savaglia

Superintendent, Designee

Community Survey - Please Respond By June 3, 2024

The School District of Cudahy Board of Education seeks to understand the priorities of the taxpayers and needs their input on two important questions:

  1. Funding from the operational referendum Cudahy voters approved in 2020 will expire in 2025. Should this referendum be renewed?

  2. The District currently operates six schools. It is more expensive to operate and maintain these buildings as they get older and we have excess capacity as student enrollment declines. Should we continue to invest in all the buildings or update a plan to consolidate schools?

Surveys were mailed in early May to all District residents. Surveys include a unique code for each respondent. The survey code can be used only once. To obtain additional surveys for surveys for other adults in your household, please call the District Office at (414) 294.7412.

To receive the survey in a different language or if you have a disability that makes it difficult to read, please contact the District Office. Survey results will be reported at a board meeting and available on the District’s website.

Background - Here’s Why We Want Your Feedback!

District Challenges

The District faces the following critical challenges:

  • A Gap in School Funding. The District is experiencing reduced revenue due to declining enrollment trends and decreased state aid for day-to-day operations.

  • Excess Space and Declining Enrollment The District must address excess space district-wide that strongly impacts its operational budget. Additionally, any buildings in operation require renovations to improve learning spaces and ensure enhanced safety and alignment with the needs of today's learners and careers.

  • High-Cost Maintenance and Repairs: There is a pressing need to address high-cost facility repairs, replacements, and maintenance throughout the District's schools.

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To address these challenges, many reductions and actions have already taken place. However, the ongoing solution will require a multi-pronged approach. 

The District must continue to address critical challenges of high-cost facility repairs and maintenance throughout the District’s schools while funding quality staff and maintaining programming to prepare future-ready graduates.

A Gap in School Funding

The District Will Seek to Renew the 2020 Operational Referendum Which Expires in 2025. 

Financial Background 

The Cudahy School District tax mill rate, which is used to calculate the District’s share of local property taxes, is the second-lowest in the Woodland Conference and remains below the state average.

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Facilities Planning: 

  1. We Have Excess Capacity 

  2. We Have Aging Facilities that Require Improvements

Like many other districts in our state, the School District of Cudahy has been dealing with declining student enrollment and budget challenges. State funding is tied to enrollment. Thus, the fewer students we have, the less money we receive.

  1. Excess capacity.

We currently serve just over 2,000 students in 6 buildings. During the past 10 years, student enrollment has dropped by more than 500 students. Based on a recent population study, enrollment will likely continue to decline.

  1. Our buildings are aging.

Five of our schools are more than 50 years old. These older schools are more expensive to maintain, heat, and clean. Many building systems throughout the District (such as heating, electrical, plumbing, roofs, windows, etc.) are inefficient and have reached or exceeded their service life. In addition, because of the age of many of our buildings, we need updates to address Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, which would improve access to classrooms, support areas, and restrooms.

The Process of Consolidating Schools to Save Operational Dollars

A Pause in the District’s Building Consolidation Plan

The District previously established a plan to consolidate schools. For the 2022-23 school year, Park View and General Mitchell Elementary Schools were merged and the district has an agreement to sell the Park View building. In December, the school board paused additional consolidation plans to allow for more community feedback and further examination of other reconfiguration options. 

The District collaborated with Performance Services, Inc (PSI) to ensure objectivity in addressing these challenges. In addition to a complete facility study, PSI further assessed current facility capacity and educational programming needs to devise several alternative school configurations. 

  1. The Board Sought Input from the Cudahy Facilities Advisory Committee

The role of the Facility Advisory Committee was to provide meaningful input to the School District of Cudahy administration about possible scenarios that will address the challenges of excess facility space, and high-cost facility repairs and maintenance throughout the District's schools. The work of the committee included:

  • Reviewed critical issues facing the District, including a financial presentation.

  • Learned about six possible building configuration scenarios.

  • Summarized the pros and cons for each scenario. 

  • Opportunities for members to express their views and participate in a culminating ranking of scenarios.

  1. School Configuration Options:

To finalize the long-term facilities plan, we need to decide how many schools to maintain and operate.

  • Option 1: Maintain all six schools
    This option is more expensive from a staffing standpoint and will require higher annual building maintenance investments.

  • Option 2: Five School Configuration
    This option reconfigures the high school to serve students in grades 7-12. This would allow middle school students to access higher-level courses. Portions of the middle school would be converted into a community recreation center and unused areas could be rented.

  • Option 3: Five School Configuration
    This option closes J.E. Jones Elementary, the elementary school with the most expensive building maintenance costs.

  • Option 4: Four School Configuration
    This option closes the Middle School and J.E. Jones Elementary. It would be the most efficient and have the lowest annual operating costs.

  1. Building Maintenance

Regardless of how many schools the District operates, we must begin addressing building maintenance projects in the schools we know will stay open. Many of these projects are too expensive to be paid for from the annual budget. Therefore, the cost could be addressed through a voter-approved capital (facilities) referendum. The plan would:

  •  Upgrade aging building systems (heating, plumbing, and electrical).

  •  Replace worn-out windows, doors, ceiling tiles, and flooring.

  •  Address Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues.

  •  Improve school safety and security.

Letter from Dr. Tina Owen Moore, Superintendent

Dear Cudahy School District Community,

The School District of Cudahy is committed to provide an exceptional education for all students. Like many school districts in Wisconsin, the Cudahy School District is facing ongoing financial challenges, coupled with older school buildings that need some large-scale repairs. This letter is to inform you about the District's facilities needs, what has been done so far, and our plan to keep moving forward.

School Consolidation Update

Merger of Park View & General Mitchell

To maximize space, Park View and General Mitchell Elementary Schools were merged during the 2022-23 school year. Park View is currently for sale.

7-12 CHS/CMS School Consolidation Stopped for One Year

The Cudahy School District is exploring various possibilities to establish a financially stable future for our community's schools. Last spring, the Board selected to merge the middle and high schools as the best way forward. After further consideration, in November, the Board of Education stopped consolidating the middle and high school for one year. We met in late December to Discuss the next steps.

Our Next Steps?

The Board of Education has asked me to review all the possible solutions. In response, I am working with a team of internal leaders and Performance Services, Inc., a build/design firm, to understand the best building configuration options that would optimize our facilities for long-term, cost efficient solutions. Having finished a facility study, we’re now using its findings to guide our next steps.

The decision to postpone the 7-12 consolidation has a ripple effect. Consolidation of grades was a cost-savings effort, which means we still need to address the budget deficit for 2024-25.

Continue to Move Forward: The Path to a Facilities Solution

The pause in consolidation has offered us a fresh opportunity - a "reboot" so to speak. We are just starting this process, and we have made no decisions yet.

Several District buildings require large-scale repairs. To avoid investing in repairs to buildings that may be taken offline in the future, we will be evaluating several options. Equipped with the results of the facilities study, I am working with the team to re-evaluate viable scenarios that might help achieve long-term savings, and repair and modernize the buildings we will use.

A successful capital referendum will be necessary. To fund deferred maintenance and replace essential building equipment and to prepare buildings for a new configuration, the school board would first need to approve a referendum and then the voters will decide.

I intend to provide you with updates as we move through the process. I encourage you to stay informed and engage in the process to provide input!


Our Facilities Priorities

Safety and Security: Improvements to protect students and staff from harm and provide physical environments conducive to learning.

Educational Adequacy: Improvement measures that positively affect student learning.

Facilities Condition Priorities: Investment in the future viability of the facilities or of an investment in energy/operational efficiency

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Dr. Michelle Garven, Superintendent

School District of Cudahy

5530 S. Barland Ave. Cudahy, Wisconsin 53110

414-294-7400 garvenm@cudahysd.org

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