Task force: Do not change Green Bay school boundary lines or build new high school

The Boundary Task Force for the Green Bay Area Public School District meeting on May 16, 2018. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- There are new recommendations to ease overcrowding at public schools on Green Bay's east side, and they do not include changing boundary lines or building a new high school.

For the last several months, a Boundary Task Force has been pouring over data, trying to balance the Green Bay Area Public School District’s enrollment numbers.

The district's problems are overcrowding at east side schools, with west side schools being under capacity. In the high schools, Preble is 260 students over its target capacity, but East, West, and Southwest are all well below capacity.

The Boundary Task Force is recommending putting "magnet-like", specialty offerings in its west side schools. It believes those options would lure students across the Fox River, for example, from overcrowded Preble High School to under capacity West High School.

“I personally am in favor of magnet-school programs,” said Luke Davis, a senior at Southwest and co-chair of the task force. “I feel like they could offer students a lot of possibilities in their future as they progress.”

Months of number crunching showed the task force that a surprising number of students are already traveling all over the city to attend schools.

“Movement is happening, we want to try to leverage it to the district's advantage,” said Dan Kiernan, a parent to two students in the district and co-chair of the task force.

What the numbers did not show the task force was the need for any major changes to boundary lines or building a fifth high school.

“The growth patterns were looked at very seriously and we as a task force couldn't justify the cost of an $85 million high school at this time given the growth numbers,” said Kiernan.

The task force also plans to present other ideas to the school board that were not unanimous among the group. They include changing the schools that feed into Preble and adding a stand-alone school just for 9th graders.

“There is worry that if we isolate the 9th grade in one building in order to relieve a lot of space at Preble, those students might not have the same opportunities academic-wise, as well as sport wise,” said Davis.

The task force is scheduled to make its final recommendation to the school board on June 18th.

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