Southwest Local School District kicked off a series of community outreach forums on Tuesday, January 17 called “Southwest Schools: Defining the Future.”
To view the presentation from that session as well as the questions that were posed by audience members, click the respective PDF attachments below.
To view video of the forum, please click here: http://www.southwestschools.org/apps/video/
The next forum, similar to a town hall meeting, will be held Thursday, February 9 from 7 to 8:30 pm at Harrison Elementary, 600 E. Broadway St., Harrison. The community is encouraged to attend.
The forums are part of an Educational Facility Master Planning Process that will be overseen by SHP Leading Design, the district’s newly hired architecture firm.
“We know that a large portion of the community wants us to re-think our approach to facility planning,” said new Superintendent John C. Hamstra. “This is an opportunity for a fresh start.”
The community will get a chance to hear district leaders and SHP make presentations about the history of Southwest, the status of facilities, opportunities for state facilities funding and the master planning process. Additionally, the community will be able to provide its perspectives on a range of issues and positions.
Afterward, attendees will be offered a tour of Harrison Elementary School.
A plan to renovate or replace schools is needed because of surging enrollment and antiquated buildings. Twice in the last two years, the district has asked the community to approve bond issues for such projects. Voters defeated both requests.
“We know we have to try something different,” Hamstra said. “And we know, before we go back on the ballot, that we have to do a better job of listening to and engaging the community in the planning process.”
In addition to community forums, Southwest will create three panels to participate in the master planning process:
- A Community Advisory Team, which will study, synthesize and provide advice guided by four pillars: education, facilities, finance and community support. The team will be composed of stakeholders from the community, government, business, students and staff.
- A Financial Advisory Team, which will review district finances and operations, and advise on the impact of various facility options on district finances and operations.
- An Educational Visioning Team, which will recommend the ideal model for delivery of education, and advise on the resulting impact of various facility options.