Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School Board to vote on referendum question

Aug. 5, 2014

Oak Creek — The Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District may be relieved of its crowded hallways if the school board votes in favor of a referendum question for the November 2014 ballot on Monday, Aug 11.

The referendum question, which has not been approved or drafted yet, would propose the construction of a new elementary school, ninth-grade center and community auditorium.

Board members will vote Monday if they are in favor of or are against a referendum question appearing on the November ballot. If in favor, the board will then decide what the question will specifically state. Board members have until Aug. 23 to cast their vote.

The recommendation for a new elementary school, ninth-grade center and auditorium emerged from the Future Facilities Planning Committee. The committee, comprised of roughly 40 parents, community members and district workers, has been meeting since 2010 to address the significant population increase in the OCFSD.

According to enrollment data history, there has been an increase of 1,621 students in the district from 2000 to 2013. Five out of six elementary grade levels are above capacity, and Oak Creek High School is above capacity.

A ninth-grade center, which is a new concept for most school districts, would house the incoming freshman class. The center would ideally be located where the current city hall and public library stand on South Howell Avenue, near the Oak Creek Community Center.

Up to 700 students could be housed in the ninth-grade center, which would give sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school more breathing room in the hallways. This year's freshman class was about 500 students, said Jennifer von Helms, Future Facilities committee member.

The proposed auditorium, which is more of a "want" than a "need," said committee members, would be attached to the ninth-grade center and would be available for student and community use. The current OCHS auditorium seats 125 people.

"For a high school of our size, it's just really not adequate," von Helms said.

During the board meeting July 28, Superintendent Sara Burmeister said the district would consider raising money for the auditorium through grants since it is more of a want than a need, if the board approves a referendum.

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