Prop 1 To Fund Work At 3 Schools

Additional work at Tillman, Westchester, North Glendale is possible since other improvements came in under budget

December 21, 2012
Three Kirkwood elementary schools - Tillman, Westchester and North Glendale - will be getting additional improvements thanks to the remaining funds from Prop 1.

Voters approved Prop 1, a $33.5 million no tax rate increase bond issue, in 2010 for improvements to the learning environments at both middle schools and three elementary schools. The district has been able to fund all of the projects, as well as all of the projects listed as alternatives, with money to spare.

The district said because of its aggressive bidding process and hard work to make sure all projects and alternate projects came in on time and under budget, there is $850,000 available to complete additional work. That money will be used to make more improvements at Tillman, Westchester and North Glendale elementary schools that have been on the district's master facility plan since 2003.

"We are required to use this money for capital projects and we have identified these three projects," Mike Romay, chief financial officer for the district, explained during the school board meeting earlier this month.

Work at Tillman Elementary School will include renovating the front entrance and relocating the nurse's clinic, main office and guidance office. The front entrance is being redesigned for safety and security so every visitor who comes in the building can be seen from the front office. The redesign of the nurse's station will allow access for a wheelchair or stretcher, which will make for a more effective use of the area, Romay said.

For Westchester Elementary School the additional funds mean doubling the size of the school's library/media center. Removing the wall between the library and computer lab and renovating those spaces will allow for the expansion.

At North Glendale Elementary School, the old library will be converted back into two classrooms.

"Enrollment (at North Glendale) is expected to go up by at least 60 students next year, so we need the classroom space," Romay said.

The renovations, which were approved by the school board at its Dec. 10 meeting, will take place over the summer and are scheduled to be completed by August 2013.

The other projects made possible by the passage of Prop 1 included additional gyms/cafeterias at North Glendale, Robinson and Keysor elementary schools, kindergarten at every elementary school, improved security by centralizing office locations at Robinson and Keysor, new library media centers at Robinson and Keysor, improved science classrooms and other renovations at both middle schools and more, all of which were finished before school started in August.

Kirkwood Early Childhood Center

Kirkwood Early Childhood Center Principal Melissa Sandbothe presented the board with an update on the center.

Parents As Teachers continues to be a valuable resource for families and the PAT screening team screens all Kirkwood students attending seven local pre-schools, and that Summer Adventure Club is thriving at all five Kirkwood elementary schools are among this year's highlights. KECC also is implementing a redesign of its meal program to include a nutritious menu using fresh ingredients and whole grains, has added coaching as an ongoing support for its staff, and teachers have received and are using technology as an effective tool for student instruction, Sandbothe reported.

KECC's school improvement plan is to have 100 percent of the students demonstrating individual progress in achieving or exceeding developmentally appropriate behaviors in the areas of pre-literacy, pre-math and social/emotional competency.

Sandbothe has her sights set on the future with the goal of developing a pilot design for universal preschool in Kirkwood. The purpose of the initiative is to give parents meaningful choice and assistance in choosing the child care and education arrangements that are right for their family when preparing their child for kindergarten. The primary goal is to provide a community-wide system of quality early childhood options that allow every age-eligible Kirkwood resident student to access one year of high quality pre-kindergarten education. The estimated budget for implementing such a pilot program is $825,000.

Sandbothe, who stressed that the initiative is still just a vision, said she wants to implement the program so all children have an opportunity to attend preschool.

"The goal is to provide access to children who wouldn't otherwise have it - that's my long-term goal and vision for the community," she said. "I know there are a lot of questions and I don't have all of the answers, but I want to start the conversation."

Kirkwood School District Foundation

The Kirkwood School District Foundation presented a $1 million check to the district, which fulfills the foundation's three-year goal of providing the district with that amount of funding for the artificial turf that was put in at the football stadium last year.

Student Resource Officer Awarded Officer Of The Year

Kirkwood School District Resource Officer Yvonne Bonner has been named "Kirkwood Police Officer of the Year" by the Kirkwood Police Department.

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