The committee formed to help shape the future of West Prairie School District 103 has completed its report. Now it is up to the Board of Education to decide how to proceed.
The Impact 103 Committee met for eight months and held five community engagement sessions before coming up with its recommendations. It suggested the district reduce its number of school buildings from four to three:
- Keep open the north elementary school
- Keep open the south elementary school
- Keep open either the middle school or the high school and close the other
During the forums, the district said its enrollment has slowly declined in recent years. It currently has around 600 students.
District leaders also talked about the age of the school buildings; the average age is 54 years. A design firm found the south elementary school to be in good condition, the north elementary school and high school in fair condition, and the middle school in poor shape.
In addition, the district explained that transportation is a challenge because the district covers 244 square miles.
School Board President Scott Vogler said board members will now dig deeper into the findings.
“We’ll be looking for a more broad-based idea of cost, things like that. Long-term planning of where things will be in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years,” he said.
Vogler said the board will not be rushed into making decisions. And Superintendent Carol Kilver said she feels there are no preconceived notions about what direction the district will take.
“That was the whole purpose of the community engagement – to find out what the community found acceptable and what the community was willing to support. I think it’s the responsibility of the board now to look at what’s the most fiscally responsible decision and how we can be more effective and efficient in serving our students,” she said.
Kilver praised the committee, which she said gave the community a voice in shaping the district’s future while keeping the discussions civil.
“That was at the core of almost every meeting. We wanted to model for our students the process of civility and how you take on challenging problems that are facing you. And I think that our community did an excellent job in modeling that for our students,” Kilver said.