Building Utilization and the Upcoming Bond

The School Board voted to refer a $790 million bond to voters in May. The bond would continue PPS’ Long Range Facilities Plan, and includes money to rebuild Madison, Benson, and Lincoln High Schools, and Kellogg Middle School, as well as $150 million to address health and safety issues across the District.

At the last RA, representatives from the District presented the bond package, and building reps asked questions and voiced concerns. A central concern to educators has been the District’s model for building utilization in the redesigned high schools, which is based on the idea that teachers will not have their own classrooms. Instead, they would have shared office space for use during planning time, and would move between classrooms during the day. This design concept has been referred to in the past as “100% Utilization,” although the District is no longer using that term.

Educators at Franklin, Marshall, and Lincoln have been teaching under conditions similar to the “100% Utilization” model, and have found it to be harmful to teaching and learning.  In September, reps brought forward and passed a Resolution on School Design and Utilization, spelling out a shared belief that school buildings should be designed so educators can have dedicated spaces in which to teach.

The District has told us that the “Education Specifications” (the guidelines that architects are given to design our school buildings) will be revised in response to this resolution and that we will see new Ed Specs in early March. Our hope is that the revised Ed Specs will reflect the priorities of classroom teachers.

At the March 22nd RA we will discuss the bond, and will take a formal position if we have enough information. In the meantime, please consider how the bond will impact your school and your students, and share your hopes and concerns with your building representative.