What projects are included in the 2015 Growth Management Plan?
- Repurposing Paxton School (currently serving grades 4-5 in the northern attendance area) to become part of Platte County High School (PCHS) to accommodate student enrollment growth at PCHS.
- Building a new, approximately 700-student, Kindergarten-5th Grade Elementary school to be located in Platte City on property the district currently owns. This would allow for the closure of Rising Star Elementary (currently serving Kindergarten only in the northern attendance area), the repurposing of Paxton School for Platte County High School, and improved grade-spans at the elementary level.
- Expanding Pathfinder Elementary (currently serving grades K-2 in the southern attendance area) by adding 14 classrooms, a multi-purpose room, and additional parking to increase student capacity by approximately 280 students, allowing for improved elementary grade-spans at Pathfinder (moving to grades K-4) and to relieve Barry School overcrowding (moving from grades 3-8 to grades 5-8).
The 2015 proposal:
- Increases capacity to accommodate current overcrowding and projected increases
- Provides a more efficient elementary grade configuration than what is currently in place
- Provides an elementary grade configuration that is age-appropriate
- Reduces traffic congestion on the main campus
- Simplifies drop-off and pick-up for elementary parents to one location (K-5 in the northern attendance area and K-4 in the southern attendance area)
- Repurposes Paxton School to provide a cost-effective solution of PCHS enrollment growth
How much has the student population grown? What are the enrollment projections?
Since voters passed the last district ballot issue in 2008, district enrollment has grown by more than 900 students. Current year (2014-15) enrollment is 3,888 students.
Why did this require a tax increase?
In the past, the district has been able to build new facilities with voters passing either a no-tax increase bond issue or a combination of a bond issue with a tax levy increase. During these elections, the district's tax base or valuation of property in the district was keeping pace with or exceeding the district's enrollment growth. Over the past 5 years our assessed valuation in the district has not kept pace with our student enrollment growth, meaning that a levy increase is necessary to provide the facilities to serve our growing student population.
How were the projects determined?
The district analyzed existing enrollment and class movement, studied district demographics (including enrollment projections), and engaged stakeholders (parents, community leaders, staff members) in creating a long-range plan to address the district's needs of today and coming years. The cost of each project was determined by architects, engineers, and construction managers with the assistance of district officials.
How much will the levy cost the average patron?
The proposition would increase the district tax levy by 43 cents for every $100 of real property assessed valuation.
Where does our levy rank compared to other districts?
Following the levy increase passed in April 2015, the District tax levy remains one of the lowest in the Kansas City Metro area, as shown in the graphic below. The total tax levy rate is applied to $100 of assessed valuation. WSource: DESE.
Where will the new elementary be built?
The new elementary will be built on the west side of property currently owned by the district in Platte City, surrounded by 4th Street or N Highway to the west, Broken Bridge to the south, Pirate Lakes Estates to the north, and the school district campus to the east.
How will students be selected to attend the new building?
Students will be selected to attend the new building by developing boundaries that define attendance areas. This process will be stakeholder driven, transparent to the community, and approved by the Board of Education. The process of developing boundary lines will be assisted by a third-party demographer to consider logistical issues associated with defining attendance areas such as enrollment balance, socio-economic balance, transportation distance and safety, maintaining neighborhoods and subdivisions, and future growth considerations. With the closure of Rising Star, the expansion of Pathfinder, as well as the existing Siegrist Elementary and Barry School, all elementary buildings will be very well-positioned to serve students equitably.
What facility upgrades will be made to Pathfinder Elementary?
A 14-classroom wing (two stories of seven classrooms each), a multi-purpose room, and additional parking will be added to Pathfinder Elementary. This expansion will increase the student capacity by 280 students, allowing for improved elementary grade-spans at Pathfinder (moving to grades K-4), and to relieve Barry School overcrowding (moving from grades 3-8 to grades 5-8).
How will Paxton School be utilized for PCHS students?
Paxton School (currently serving grades 4-5 in the northern attendance area) will be repurposed to become part of Platte County High School (PCHS) to accommodate student enrollment growth at PCHS. The district is engaging architects, staff, and community members to appropriately plan space and programming at PCHS when it annexes Paxton School. Several options for using this space are currently being considered.
What is the timeline for construction?
A competitive bidding process will begin immediately after passage on April 7, 2015. Construction will begin following the bidding process with the building projects planned to be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2016 or at the start of the 2016-17 school year.
What are the district's plans for Rising Star Elementary?
The district does not have plans to use Rising Star Elementary for any other purpose once it closes. The issues the building has for housing Kindergarten students would continue to be issues for any other use of the building. Subject to board approval, the facility and/or its grounds may be placed on the market for sale, with the caveat that any future use be agreeable to its neighbors and the City of Platte City.
When will the district build another high school?
District leaders together with architects worked with more than 60 patrons to create a framework for developing new facilities, a Long-Range Plan. The Long-Range Plan is intended to be a guide rather than a blueprint, and contains 17 planning criteria concepts around which new buildings and sites will be developed, and a flashpoint diagram identifying student enrollment levels that require new facility planning and construction. When the district will build another high school is not determined by date, but by need based on student enrollment. Within the planning criteria, the most desirable high school size (enrollment) for student/staff success is 1,250 students, with a minimum of 1,000 and a maximum of 1,500. The district is actively searching for sites for a future high school or high school + middle school campus.