Task force starting to look at solutions for Green Bay schools' enrollment issues

The Green Bay Area Public School District's Boundary Task Force meets at district offices on March 7, 2018. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The Green Bay Area Public School District’s boundary task force held its fourth monthly meeting Wednesday night to talk about the district's unbalanced enrollment.

FOX 11 first told you in October that the district was forming the task force to look at possibly changing the district’s boundary lines for the first time in 18 years.

The overcrowding at Green Bay Preble High School has been well documented for about the last 15 years. Meanwhile, students at the city’s west-side schools say they’ve had plenty of space.

“Southwest (High School), there is definitely room for more students,” said Luke Davis, a senior and co-chair of the boundary task force. “I would say we are in a very comfortable learning environment.”

Davis is one of about 20 people who've volunteered for the school district's boundary task force. It includes students, parents, business people, former educators, but no district employees.

“I believe there is a fair representation throughout our group,” said Davis.

The group is starting to transition from number crunching to possible solutions for the enrollment issues.

All school levels are being looked at, but the city's high schools are of particular concern. Preble is 260 students above its target capacity. However, the other three high schools are below capacity, including room for 362 more students at Southwest, 429 students at West, and 142 students at East.

“Everything reasonable is on the table,” said Dan Kiernan, a parent of two students in the district and co-chair of the task force. “We're doing the best interests of families. The second and third priorities were that it be data driven and flexible.”

For Wednesday’s meeting, city and county planners came in to show the task force where future growth is predicted, which happens to be primarily on the city’s far east side. Nearly 1,500 new housing units are expected in Preble's boundary lines in the next few years.

“Anything we do is obviously a guessing game, but we're trying to do the best guessing game that we can with the data that we have,” said Kiernan.

“It's such a hassle to have to start moving things around, and on families, that's what makes this topic so emotional for families and parents especially,” said Davis.

The goal is to make a recommendation to the school board on June 18.

Before that recommendation, the task force is scheduled to meet on March 28, April 11, and May 16.

The public has been invited to the meetings, with an opportunity to speak at the end of each gathering.

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