Of these stressors only depleted reserves, unused space and shrinking staff are directly under the control of the district, Pastel said.
In order to develop strategies to address this problem, the district has planned a several-month-long process to get community feedback.
“We’ve got a problem and the only unacceptable course, which is an action, is to absolutely do nothing. I don’t know what we’re going to do. You’re going to give input to help the board, so we have solutions that we can study and look at, but we can’t ignore it,” Pastel said.
The process will start with a meeting at 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 12 in Waterman school open to all residents of the school district. More information about the meeting can be found here.
The plan for the evening is to have everyone meet in the auditorium for an initial presentation and then split into smaller groups that will discuss and propose ideas for actions that the district could take. These plans could include moving grades into new buildings or any other changes that people think may work.
The district will then create study groups that will include parents, teachers, administrators and community members without children in the district. These groups will evaluate the ideas from the Nov. 12 meeting and report back over the course of the next few months. The board will also discuss the progress of the process and hold additional meetings to get input form the general public. Pastel said that the process will take until March, or possibly longer, to complete, though the district needs to start looking at long-term strategies to address its impending financial problems.
When given a chance to address the board at the end of the meeting, several people spoke to ask that facts and figures about enrollment and the district’s finances be made available to them prior to the meeting. Pastel agreed that this was a good idea and said they would work to post what they could to the district website.