Stillwater Area Public Schools Considers Proposal to ‘Consolidate Elementary Schools’

The Stillwater Area Public Schools Board of Education will hear a proposal to consolidate elementary schools during a Board workshop at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17 at Stillwater City Hall.

The meeting is open to the public and will also be broadcast live online and aired on cable channel 15.

Here’s a copy of the email Superintendent Denise Pontrelli sent to families on Wednesday night:

Stillwater Area Public Schools Superintendent Denise Pontrelli

Stillwater Area Public Schools Superintendent Denise Pontrelli

“Did you know we are a district of about 8,300 students, but we have space in our schools for nearly 10,000? Our southern communities are growing rapidly, while enrollment in central and northern schools is projected to hold steady or decline.

This causes financial challenges, but the real issue is that it creates vastly different experiences for students depending on where they live. To learn more watch this short video.

Tomorrow night the school board will be hearing ideas on how we might address these challenges. A proposal will be shared during the Dec. 17 Learning Session at 5:30 p.m. at Stillwater City Hall. The proposal does include a plan to consolidate elementary school buildings.

The Learning Session is open to the public. You’re also welcome to watch it live on our website or on Cable Channel 15. We will share more information about the proposal with families following the meeting.

Consolidating school buildings is an incredibly difficult thing to talk about. But we cannot ignore the fact that we are spending more money than we need to and we are providing an inequitable education to our students.

The proposal we will present to the board would ensure our students have access to the same support regardless of where they live. It would provide dollars to support a student-centered middle school model and fund other student needs. It would also provide long-term stability in staffing, operations and learning.

No decision will be made at this time.

The school board will hear a more formal recommendation on Jan. 7 and is expected to make a final decision on Feb. 11. There will be numerous opportunities in the coming months for staff and families to learn more about the proposal, ask questions, and provide feedback.

I encourage you to tune in to this important discussion tomorrow night.”