Two classes of Carroll elementary-school students would shift to different buildings under a plan district leaders gave preliminary approval on Monday.
The Carroll Community School Board unanimously voted to move forward with the planning stages for the construction of a building addition to the Carroll Middle School. The school was designed to allow for easy expansion, school officials said, which is why they prefer to add space there instead of at Adams Elementary.
Under the tentative plan, fifth-grade students would move to the new middle school addition from Adams, and third-grade students would move from Fairview Elementary to Adams. No official timetable for the project was given.
Problems with overcrowding at Fairview is what prompted the need for more space. The school recently added a 4-year-old preschool program, which put an extra grade of students in Fairview.
The board hopes that project costs will be in line with summer additions in the Coon Rapids and Ar-We-Va school districts — Coon Rapids spent about $3.1 million on its project and Ar-We-Va spent about $2 million on a slightly smaller addition.
The Carroll district will hire an architect to plan the expansion at an unspecified cost that will be paid by state sales tax money.
If the project moves forward past the planning stage, the board has discussed borrowing money against future sales tax dollars to help pay for the addition — a privilege that Carroll voters approved in an election early this month.
The board read the results at its Monday meeting of the revenue purpose statement election that was voted on Dec. 4.
The new purpose statement, which allows the school district to bond against a special state sales tax for schools passed 597 votes to 540.
Board President Kim Tiefenthaler said the new purpose statement won’t affect local tax rates or how much money the school will be receiving, and that it didn’t change what the sales tax money could be used for. He said he was disappointed in the Carroll Community Parent Taxpayer Coalition for misleading area voters.
“The best example of what this money should be used for is what we did tonight by adding on to the middle school. It’s what’s best for the kids,” Tiefenthaler said. “I thought as a community we worked together and did what was best, but things like this disappoint me.”
In other school board news:
The board voted to install a new intercom system in the high school at a cost of $15,740.
Board members then discussed semester tests and when the next school year should begin. Superintendent Rob Cordes sent out a survey asking kids what they think. School leaders asked the students if they’d like to take semester tests before or after winter break and when the start of the next school year should be. Cordes gave three options for school start dates: Aug. 20, Aug. 25 or after Sept. 1.
Board members then had a discussion on the value of semester tests, in which Cordes said he thinks the idea of the end-of-semester tests is antiquated. He said the tests had been used to prepare students for the tests they’d face in college, but that colleges have changed the way they grade students.
“I think more people are going to projects or project-based learning activities and having kids demonstrate the facts,” Cordes said.