Although we have provided updates on the work of the Infrastructure Task Force at our Board of Education meetings and stories have appeared in the District newsletter “The First Bell”, I thought it would be a good idea to share a bit of information with you on my blog as I have always done when it comes to important topics regarding our schools.
Per the direction of the Board of Education, the Infrastructure Task Force met for the first time on August 1, 2018. The purpose of the Task Force was to address the following issues:
- Long term infrastructure needs of many aging buildings. (almost half are over 60 years old with at least 12 turning 100 years old over a ten year period starting in 2020)
- Long term safety and security.
- Student capacity and the possible need to expand classrooms and/or schools (ex. additions, renovations, a new high school and/or 9th grade academy, expansion at the Berry Career Center, the Henry Ford Collegiate Academy and Early College options)
- Assess the possibility of air conditioning across the school district.
The work of the Task Force is not to make decisions but to offer recommendations to the Board of Education. The Board of Education created a working environment for the Task Force where participants could feel safe to share creative ideas, free thoughts, and allow brainstorming to occur…that is, to put all thoughts on the table and not limit anyone’s ideas.
Our District works very hard to make sure that we are sharing accurate information with our community and being transparent in the work we are doing. This is one of the reasons I am active on my blog and on Social Media. Of course, in a free society where individuals and the media are guaranteed by our Constitution the right to freedom of speech and press, information that may only be part of a discussion, idea, or concept can be presented as if it is a plan of action.
I want to make it perfectly clear to our community that there is no final plan nor is there any commitment by the Board or the District at this time to move forward with any idea or concept being discussed by the Task Force. The Board of Education will ultimately make a final decision based on the recommendations of the the Task Force and considering several other factors such as budgets, long term sustainability of the district, instructional needs, and student safety. This includes moving forward with any construction projects or any possible future ballot proposal.
In addition, any dollar amounts being provided to the Task Force to build or renovate schools are rough estimates based on current per-square foot costs. Any final numbers would require a much more thorough analysis by the Operations staff and contracted professionals in the construction industry.
The work of the Task Force is a huge job and we appreciate their dedication to our students and improving our District. Their insight will be extremely valuable in helping the Board reach a final decision.
This diverse group of around 30 people, made up of parents, community members, business leaders, and District staff members has met 4 times including a meeting on September 26th that provided the group with an opportunity to tour several schools in our district. Looking ahead, the Task Force is scheduled to present the outcomes of their work to the Board at a special meeting scheduled for October 29. From there, the Board will work with the District’s Administrative team to develop a comprehensive plan to address the long term infrastructure and capacity needs of the District.
Dearborn Public Schools