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School board to discuss facilities task force recommendations

The upcoming work session for Austin Public Schools board members will be about learning the details and asking questions in regard to the recommendations made by the facilities task force to improve the district's facilities.

The special meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Monday in the media center at Ellis Middle School.

Mark Stotts, Director of Finance and Operations, presented a basic outline of the information at the last school board meeting on April 6, but Monday will be a chance for the board to dive deeper into the details of what the task force has proposed.

"A lot of it will be processing more information for some of us," said school board chairman Aaron Keenan. "They may not be able to answer all of our questions."

The task force has recommended building an additional school for fifth- and sixth-graders to help alleviate the overcrowding issues within the schools due to rising enrollments. This intermediate school would also offer more programming opportunities for those students.


The possible location for the new school has not been decided yet, although the Ellis Middle School site has been mentioned.

Adding classrooms to Woodson Kindergarten Center, making sure that any proposed facilities plan is less than $30 million and making sure the plan includes an analysis of the monetary affect to the general fund were the other recommendations made by the task force.

Some of the big concerns will be administrative, like how many more staff members would be needed and finding out the cost to fix up the facilities, Keenan said. He will be focusing more on the operational costs of the plan, he said.

Keenan also said that the meeting has the potential to go on for a long time because all seven members may have a lot of different questions.

"I think that's good," Keenan said.

Some of the key questions will most likely focus around the best environment for the students.

"What is the best thing for students?" Keenan said. "How do we make sure with these changes that we're keeping curriculum?"

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