With site work underway on a new elementary school in Fitchburg’s Terravessa neighborhood, next up for the Oregon School District is figuring out the new boundaries for its elementary schools.
The Oregon school board got an update Monday night on the timeline for the new building project through completion.
A “working draft” district superintendent Brian Busler presented on the remainder of the project timeline includes a groundbreaking ceremony June 6 and a naming process for the school that will start this summer.
Even before that, the district plans to begin the process for establishing the new school boundaries for the elementaries, which will be assisted by a district committee including around a dozen parents.
Busler said administrators have been working with consultant Mark Roffers since last month on the boundary project, with the committee set for a “boundary kickoff meeting” May 20. He said the committee, chaired by OSD deputy superintendent Leslie Bergstrom, will meet around five times during the year, with a goal of bringing a recommendation back to the board in September.
“Currently we have dynamic boundaries – we try to make it work for the family, and balancing class sizes,” Busler explained. “To a large degree, we have been able to do that successfully for the past several years. We need some general boundaries, and then we will work and adjust that along the way.”
This summer, the district hopes to choose a name for the new school, something Busler invited students, staff and district residents to participate in. He said the process would likely start in August, with a decision to be made in the fall.
“Majority rule is usually what carries the day,” he said.
By mid-September this year, the district would like to name a principal for the new school, with staff interviews for positions at the school to follow. The district would then post vacancies created at its other schools in February 2020.
Busler said the interview process for teachers who want to move to the new school will involve all K-6 principals, since all the elementary schools and Rome Corners Intermediate School will be affected by any moves.
“We’re not just staffing a new school; we’re staffing all our schools, and likely we will have some individuals from all four of those schools going to the new school, and we want all of the principals to be involved in that,” he said. “We don’t want to deplete a school, so to speak – we want a nice cross-representation in terms of experience, age and interest at the new school… and across all our schools.”
Busler said the building foundation is expected to be completed in October and the structure is set to be “substantially completed” by July 31 of next year, with the district able to occupy the building Aug. 28, a few days before the scheduled start of the 2020-21 school year on Sept. 1.
School board president Steve Zach said the district is also working on transportation and school start time studies to bring to the vision committee later this month, with the idea to “make the school start change when we’re redoing transportation for the entire district.”
“The community should know that building a new school isn’t just getting the bricks and mortar up, there is a lot of planning that’s going to go into creating that new school and staffing it,” he said. “We’ve got a comprehensive plan to address that, and that’s been worked on for some time now.”