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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

2007: Mr. Pierick Speaks on 4K:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 Nostalgia: 2007: Mr.Pierick speaks on 4K MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007 Nostalgia: Jan 2007: Mr. Pierick Speaks on 4K------ (Ed. note; Mr. Larson of the Evansville School Board asked that 4K be placed as a board goal for the upcoming school year, or at least a review of it. I have reprinted Mr. Michael Pierick's comments about 4k at the time of the recent defeat of this proposal. It was the second consideration of 4K in one year. Mr. Larson is coming up for reelection in April of 2008.) "I have a subjective bias about preschool, and I personally believe that there are benefits to 4-year-old kindergarten. Both of my sons attended preschool, and my opinion is based upon the positive learning experience that they had. However, I have very strong reservations about going forward with this program, and even about going ahead with a pilot program. If I were to vote today, I would vote not to continue. In fact, I question why we are investing so many District resources and so much planning time on something that appears less than fully compelling. My reservations are varied. I don’t see any widely based community support for 4-year-old kindergarten, and there were more comments at the public hearing opposed to this program than in favor. This was initially presented as a program that would benefit and be supported by the existing providers of 4-year-old preschool in the District, but most of those providers who came to the public hearing spoke against it. The State legislative task force on this topic was presented a few days ago. The task force admitted that it did not vote on the recommendations. Regardless of the recommendations, there is a statement in the report that is unlikely to be refuted soon by anyone: “in our current limited resource setting, increased funding for 4 year old kindergarten programs is not likely, and would only be found at the expense of another education program.” We have a facilities consulting firm, Plunkett Raysich Architects, which has given us some preliminary analysis of our facilities. According to Plunkett Raysich, we already have a need for three additional rooms to serve our elementary school population, and will need another by 2011 – in just four years. We are currently at the level of classrooms that we need to serve our intermediate school population, but will need three more rooms in four years. We now have the number of core curriculum rooms needed to serve our middle school population – not the best facility, only the right number of core curriculum rooms -- but we will need five additional classrooms in four years. And we will need one more classroom in the high school designed just five years ago. Altogether, this means we need to add about 13 classrooms in four years. The preliminary report also talks about numerous facility deficiencies in the three older buildings – some of them major deficiencies -- and even a few facility deficiencies in the new high school. The Evansville Community School District pays about two million dollars per year for construction debt. Most of that is the debt on the high school construction, which won’t be paid off for another 15 years. The rest is debt from 1992 construction to be paid off in 2012. That construction debt represents about a third of our property tax levy, two million of the six million dollars levied. However we go about adding some 13 classrooms and correcting some major deficiencies in our facilities, it is going to cost us some major money. And the only way we are going to get that money is by passing a referendum. My guess is that’s not politically doable until 2012, when the 1992 debt is fully paid. I believe that the Evansville community will support this District when we go to them and demonstrate our need for additional classrooms in order to teach additional children who have moved to the district or been born in the district. But I very much doubt that the community will support us if we increase the number of students in our buildings by adding 4 year olds over the next few years, and then turn around and say it’s too crowded. I think we need to stop planning for any 4 year old program that will place additional children in our school buildings. I think this Board needs to give a strong message about this now, so that valuable administrator and staff time can be spent on other important curriculum and planning endeavors." Posted by Evansville Observer at 4:44 PM

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