Q&A through 2018 CAC process
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Q&A through 2018 CAC process
updated 9/28/18
How much land does the district own? What is current acreage of HS? What is leased from the church? Can we purchase land from the church?Land in our school district is at a premium because of the residential, economic, and agricultural needs of our area. The district does own an additional 60 acres on the property that WES currently sits on. HS campus sits on 67 total acres, 14 of that is leased from St Olaf's. St Olaf's property begins at the south end of the tennis court fencing extended to the end of the field. The district has not engaged in any conversations with St. Olaf regarding their property beyond an agreement to use their field for our soccer program.
Is DAMS land-locked?Yes.
Which comes first, the design or the referendum? The pre-referendum Master Planning process precedes design. The Master Planning process typically includes:

~Identifying and prioritizing NEEDS
~Developing and narrowing facilities OPTIONS that meet those needs
~Organizing facilities options into PHASED SOLUTIONS that meet short-term and long-term needs

Public school districts typically only enter into the design process once referendum funding has been approved.
The design phase can take several months, depending upon the size of the project. The district is comitted to including staff in design discussions.
What are some key referendum deadlines and timelines?It is only possible to hold school referenda during regularly scheduled election. Wisconsin school district may therefore hold referenda only on the day of a spring primary (February), the spring general election (April), the partisan primary (August) or the fall general election (November). The next three general elections (excluding primaries) are:
~April 2, 2019
~April 7, 2020
~November 3, 2020

A referendum must be authorized (placed on the ballot) by majority vote of a the school board. The school board must authorize a referendum no later than 70 days prior to an election.

Election: April 2, 2019 -- Authorization Deadline: January 22, 2019
Election: April 7, 2020 -- Authorization Deadline: January 28, 2020
Election: November 3, 2020 -- Authorization Deadline: August 25, 2020

A maximum of two referendum questions can be authorized by a school board each year.
If you are a Madison resident but a DASD family, can you vote for a referendum?All district residents vote for referendums. They are given ballots with questions that apply to their address.
Why wasn't (it) addressed with the last referendum?A summary of the 2014 CAC work and 2015 referendum is available here: https://goo.gl/nx8Cn9. In developing their recommendation, the group's three highest priorities in determining a solution to address the needs were equity among all buildings in the district, addressing the highest priority needs in all buildings and developing a recommendation that the community could support. Additional Q&A can be allocated for an upcoming meeting, if desired.
Educational Trends
How is education changing, and does the facility address those changes?The past several decades have seen incredible changes in the ways we learn and the ways we relate to the broader world. The information revolution and its impacts have also changed the skills necessary to compete in this new world. Educators of today are tasked with developing new 21st century skills in our students in order to allow them to successfully compete in this global environment. Some of these new skills include the ability to be:
~A Critical Thinker
~A Problem Solver
~An Innovator
~An Effective Communicator
~An Effective Collaborator
~A Self-Directed Learner
~Information and Media Literate
~Globally Aware
~Civically Engaged
~Financially and Economically Literate

Unfortunately, while our world has changed, our educational institutions are often some of the last places to reflect this change. We believe the learning facility and its infrastructure can play a significant role in helping educators to develop these necessary skills. The built environment can provide the context for these important functions with spaces that support integrated technology, dynamic collaboration, hands-on learning, flexibility, transparency, and private/public partnerships.
Does open classroom space prove to improve academics? Social? There are limited studies that examine if the physical environment has an impact on learning. Most studies refer to components of the built environment, such as furniture, daylighting, air quality, etc. (see attached studies). However, just recently there was a large-scale comprehensive study that studied and concluded that there is “clear evidence that well-designed primary schools boost children’s academic performance in reading, writing and math.” (“Clever Classrooms: Summary report of the HEAD Project” Holistic Evidence and Design, University of Salford, Manchester: LINK: https://goo.gl/rwPLrj)
Can we compare to what Middleton's football field has done over time - wear/tear, maintenance, money spent? General facts on turf:
~How long do they last? 10-12 years before needing replacement.
~Injury / concussion? You can design padding for more impact.
~Fill material? Carcinogen? Different types of fill.
~Usability: Can use more (early spring/late fall) due to proper drainage. PE use.
Cost of turf vs grass - ROIThe initial cost of synthetic turf is significantly higher then the cost of grass, however, over a 10 year period the life cycle costs of maintenance and upkeep for grass average out.
Safety & Security
Are windows a security hazard? How do we balance daylight and security? How is safety addressed for classrooms having glass?
As awareness of potential dangers continues to grow, design for security and safety has become paramount. It involves controlling traffic and pedestrian routes to minimize hazards, creating spaces that are deterrents to bullying and other unsafe student interactions, designing for direct and passive supervision, creating safe places for staff and guardian interactions, and creating barriers for potential intruders. It is important to note that no building is perfectly safe or perfectly secure from all threats. The level of safety and security must be carefully balanced with the other desired environmental attributes to develop a solution that best responds to overall priorities and goals.

When designing facilities, it is important that the building design align with a District’s safety and security protocol and aim to address multiple safety concerns, in addition to basic code requirements. These include, but are not limited to: Fire, Bullying, Natural Disasters, Vandalism and Theft, Kidnapping, Disgruntled Visitors, Active Shooters, Sickness and Disease, Traffic and Pedestrian Safety, Sexual Misconduct.

We consider all of these when designing learning spaces. In almost all cases safety and security require a delicate balance of contradictory forces. How do we balance a design that allows clear sightlines between spaces so that teachers can appropriately supervise day-to-day learning and activities when those same elements might put students and teachers at risk if the unthinkable happens? How do we ensure that buildings are equipped with the best available and most up-to-date security features when it is challenging or not possible for school districts to fund and maintain them?

These are not easy questions to answer. Nor is there an easy one-size-fits-all solution. Every school district has different priorities and every school building has unique challenges. When designing schools, it is critical that our designs align with each district’s safety and security resources and protocols while addressing multiple, often conflicting, safety and security concerns all while balancing tight budgets and code requirements.
Do teachers and administrators receive new safety training (for a new facility?)
There are many aspects to safety and their corresponding training. All staff receive information about exits and protocols for response to a fire or where and how to shelter for a tornado. Regarding training for an active threat, the district’s response is specifically designed for any environment, because we promote staff assessing their surroundings and then using their best judgment to identify which option supports securing their safety and the safety of other staff and students. We have done an annual all-district training around our Options Based Response, but we also plan for two cognitive drills led by staff with their students throughout the year. Staff are given a scenario of an active threat in their building that indicates the potential threat and location. The staff then lead a very quick assessment with their class about the potential options and the next action steps. This drill supports staff awareness of potential exit routes and what everyday items are available to help with either barricading, hiding, or countering an active threat. Our district’s Options Based Response is adaptable to any classroom or school setting.
Instructional Space
Neighborhoods: Are they wasted space?Neighborhood planning/design is not a new trend, it has been around for a while. However, with recent advances in wireless and mobile technology as well as the trends in education from that of a “teacher-centered” environment to a “student-centered” environment, educators are finding neighborhood formats beneficial in helping students learn 21st century skills due to the greater flexibility of these spaces (both small and large group instruction, in addition to the classroom)

The purpose historically has been to create smaller learning communities within a larger school. As schools have increased in size over the years, students can become overwhelmed, especially at the elementary and middle school level. Creating Small Learning Communities (SLC's) or neighborhoods creates a secondary scale environment which is less overwhelming. Research also suggests that students tend to perform better in smaller schools than in larger schools.

In order for a neighborhood concept to be successful, it needs to do a number of things well. It needs to create a sense of intimacy within the larger school, yet at the same time be a center for the 4-5 classrooms that are part of it. It needs to provide flexibility to meet and collaborate at different scales, from 1 on 1 to whole neighborhood gatherings. The spaces within the neighborhood NEED TO BE visually connected, with the option to be audibly connected. WITHOUT SUPERVISION, THE NEIGHBORHOOD CONCEPT DOES NOT WORK. The spaces need to be designed for multiple authentic experiences and learning. The design should be personalized, to create camaraderie and pride for the students of a particular neighborhood. Students should feel like they belong to something. The design should allow for inclusive practices, where the services come to the students. The design needs to accommodate the student.
Open spaces and transparency/windows. Will the students be distracted? Do teachers still have control over students in these types of environments?
[EUA] In our experience, no. This is a very common question among the districts we work with. We have designed a number of facilities that implement transparency within the learning environments to allow teachers and staff to supervise break out and small group areas. In every instance when we go back to the school and ask the question of distraction, the answer is “The students are not distracted”. See also impact of natural light on student learning article: https://goo.gl/JSQoIR.
Flexible furniture: Do students have “home” space? (what role does flexible furniture play in the classroom?)
Flexible furniture performs the same function as any other furniture, but because it can be easily moved, it allows the teacher to arrange and configure the classroom to be more purposeful for the learning task on hand. One day a room might be set up for taking a test, while the next it could change to allow students to work in groups.
What are some accommodations for young learners?a) Different types of furniture; b) Nooks and zones for focused thought; c) Areas to get your hands dirty; d) Makerspaces, e) Digital / video technology; f) Types of technology (touchscreens over keyboards, for example); g) Height appropriate environments (elevation of teaching areas, furniture sizes, technology placement)
What is cost/sq. foot for modern learning environment compared to a more traditional school? The construction costs per square are the same between a modern learning environment and a more traditional school, however, a modern learning environment typically requires more square feet per student.
A comparison of the district's building operational costs by square foot can be found on this chart: https://goo.gl/UBfWYn
Potential costs for building/upgrades; Timeline and costs together/how can costs be spread over time to reduce community $ impact?Based on the short- and long-term needs and priorities determined by the CAC, potential costs for new building and renovation projects will be explored. A Master Plan may include phases over time.
What repairs are budgeted for yearly? How does the district prioritize maintenance budget?EUA presented the capacity data for all buildings at the September 5th meeting. Annually the district budgets approximately $400,000 for capital maintenance projects. Projects are prioritized on the district's capital maintenance plan based on life expactancies and cost.
Does the district have a Fund 80? Is this something worth explaining for community spaces (pool, PAC, etc.)?The district is currently utilizing the Community Service Fund 80. Use of these funds include portions of the pool's community related operational costs, community related PAC usage, and for other expenditures that are specific to community use.
How can costs be spread over time to minimize impact?Public schools have limited resources and must be accountable to its taxpayers. The cost of a district’s facilities needs may exceed taxpayers’ ability to pay. In such circumstances, it’s important to develop a Master Plan that identifies short-term and long-term needs. Solutions that address these needs can then be phased over time.

Devoting more resources to the facilities maintenance portion of the operating budget is a also a way to spread costs over time. However, it’s important to recognize that state spending limits means increasing one area of the budget may require decreasing another area of the budget.
Special needs
What is the % of children with special needs?About 10% of students in DASD have been identified with a disability.
Concerns about open spaces and designs and their impact on children with sensory needs. Noise, patterns, lighting and people can adversely impact many students. How are the sensory needs of these children play into the design?The remodeld spaces presented have a number of spaces for students to utilize who may need a break or time away from a larger group. In addition, students with sensory issues who may have an intervention plan, 504, or IEP may be served by plans that include visual schedules, social stories (that could prepare students for what to expect), accommodations (i.e. noise canceling head phones) to prevent over-stimulation, alternate passing times, etc. Our schools also implement a PBIS framework where expectations for various spaces (i.e. noise level) are explicitly taught. Other environmental supports might include dimmer lights, or various light covers, varying bell options, etc. DASD serves a number of students with sensory issues in both our newer and older buildings. Our school teams problem solve and collaborate in effort to meet individual student needs. As a result, buildings have a variety of options (such as those mentioned above) to provide support for all students.
How are student "outbursts" handled in open concept type teaching configurations? Including funiture on wheels that can become projectiles. How are runners contained?Please see response to row 36. In addition, students with behavior needs are often supported through a behavior plan that would identify antecedent to behaviors (and put in supports to prevent the behavior from re-occurring), as well as, direct instruction for replacement behaviors. DASD utilizes Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) to respond to behavior that pose a threat to self or others. Each building has a crisis response team as well.
Master plan
Master plan - What is in place - what needs to be in place? The District is currently engaged the the facilities planning process with the Community Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC is charged with advising the School Board on a “Long Term Facilities Plan” or master plan. Over its first several meetings, the CAC collected information about the District’s facilities needs. As the CAC continues its work, it will prioritize needs, discuss options and potentially advise on whether or not to pursue facilities solutions.
How do we prioritize learning needs, facility needs, population, and innovative teaching practices?Given limited resources, the CAC must assess which facilities needs are most urgent and important. It is important to identify needs vs. wants, separating immediate needs from projects that can be deferred.

Developing a Master Plan will help the CAC identify immediate and future needs. Some things are fixed and are not negotiable (increasing enrollment), while other things can be made to work in pinch (renovating existing space instead of building new). There will be a series of activities within the CAC meeting structure to help the group prioritize at a community level. This leads to creating options that could become linked into a master plan.

The CAC process is designed to help identify short-term and long-term needs. A community survey can also help identify priorities. The CAC charge and the school board’s facilities guiding principles are both good places to start as the CAC thinks about how to separate short-term and long-term needs.
Is there any additional information that we need to prioritize and capture key needs?The CAC has received much of the information needed to identify and prioritize needs:
~Facilities Study – allows district to assess current conditions of their existing facilities with respect to operations, condition, safety and security.
~Educational Adequacy Assessment – allows district to assess the performance of their existing learning environments with respect to educational pedagogy.
~Enrollment Projections – allows district to understand their current capacity at every grade level in relation to anticipated enrollment growth.

The CAC may still benefit from information on:
~The school referendum process
~School finance

After the CAC begins to discuss and prioritize options, it will be important for members to understand the costs and tax impact of specific facilities solutions.
As students move up from elem./ms./hs. does enrollment change on a consistent % or does it flucuate?In general, there tends to be consitency as students progress through the grades. We do receive some flucuations due to move-in's/outs, as well as, minor increases from students coming from prochial schools at the middle school level.
When does district decide enough students per class is high enough and hire new teachers?Although this is an imperfect science and considers a number of factors, the district does utilize class size targets and attempts to consider staffing increases when it appears class size at a specific grade level in a particular building significantly exceeds thoses targets.
Eagle Point is at capacity now, what do we do the next year? We would like to see updated projections for Eagle point. We know that does take time though. WES: More long-term projectionis. Is the current capacity going to be sustained until another school is built? EPES was expected to near the 90% capacity, but the initial projections indicated it would not be sustained and EPES would either level off or slightly decrease. We are eagerly waiting for the results of the new projections. The long term projections for WES are for significant growth.
How did Eagle Point projections not catch the max cap this year? Especially after re-zoning. EPES does appear to be ahead of projections. There are a number of factors Mark Roffers is reviewing, such as a growing economy, changes in development plans, and quicker neighborhood turnover that could be contributing to the enrollment growth. To help the district better assess EPES growth, an additional survey is being conducted with families who have recently built in the EPES area.
How big is too big for elementary? Middle? High? Are we building schools at 90% capacity for 5, 10, 15 years? "Too big" is very subjective, but the key considerations from an administration's perspective is staffing to avoid traveling staff and scheduling that does not create too many sections beyond the facilities or staff capacity. The 90% is just a target to allow for fluctuations in grade level classes or "bubbles" and for potential new or changes in educational programming that would utilize facilities differently.
Where does adequacey meet capacity in a targeted class size? Why do we consider functional capacity when it is not realistic?We base our capacity on rolling our enrollment forward and monitoring new resident enrollment. Economic factors are the most challenging to predict, but do certainly impact residential and enrollment growth or decline, which is why the projections are informative and provide us guidance, but are not treated as absolutes. Functional capacity is a target. There will be many instances where enrollment will exceed or be below that line and would not require a facility decision. Functional capacity allows for those fluctuations in enrollment and programming.
Open Enrollment
How many students open enroll out? Private school? Virtual school? Home-schooled? How does it affect capacity? The district currently does not accept any new open enrollment K-8. For the 2017-18 school year we had 143 resident students open enroll out to another district. We had 153 non-resident students open enroll into DeForest. There are approximately 95 students that the district is aware of, attending a private school.
Elementary Boundaries
Eagle Point-Will boundaries be changed again?There is never a guarantee that boundaries will never change, but there are other alternatives and possibilities that are available as well.
Grade configurations & Class sizes
What does research show for educational best practices regarding how ages/grades are divided? Also class size capacities for best outcomes by educational level - elementary/middle/high school? The research around grade configuration is inconclusive with studies supporting a variety of configurations. What is consistent is the need to be thoughtful and supportive of the transitions from level to level. In a similar vein, there is no conclusive evidence that smaller class size positively impacts student achievement. The most impactful factor is the teacher, the relationships they build, and the instruction provided.
Collaboration with municipalities
Collaboration with municipalities (parks, recreational areas, athletic complex, etc.)The Village of DeForest sports complex near the Conservancy has been approved and construction is planned to begin soon. There may be instances in the future where we might utilize it, but it is not intended to fully support our district needs.
Are members of the Village board looking at sustainable growth? Although we do work closely and collaboratively with our municipalities, our focuses are understandably different. We do engage in communications and try to be supportive of each others efforts.
Community swimming poolThe Village held a non-binding advisory referendum in November 2016 asking whether residents supported a tax increase to construct and operate a municipal swimming pool. 51.1 percent of DeForest voters opted in favor. District and Village staff held preliminary conversations. District needs may not align with a community facility use (i.e., an indoor competitive pool) and timeline for planning/implementation.
Are there current classes that use/require pool use during the day?According to Mike McHugh, the high school pool is currently used by High school students (gym classes - all 9th grade students and Leisure Activities course), DAHS Swim Teams, DFAC, Lap Swimmers, Open Swim, and Park & Rec Summer Swim Lessons
Could the wear & tear items be easily fixed? Land expansion options? Pool - Is it possible to fill it in and build new somewhere else?Maintenance is done every year on all sites. The district has a capital maintenance plan to address larger items, such as roofs, HVAC, etc. Decisions are made yearly based on efficent use of staffing, budget, when buildings are not being utilized by school/community, and contractor availability. Yes, the pool could be relocated and the original space can be repurposed.
Morrisonville Elementary
How to use the MES model - community, individualized, etc. at our other schools? The design of EPES and WES were intentional to support grade level "families" with shared space to build team/community. This allows for a smaller more personalized feel at each grade level, despite it being a larger building. What we have also learned during our attendance boundary work is that families take pride in their elementary school independent of size.
Where will MES students go if no MES? There are actually a few possibiliites, but that would be dependent on the direction for the long range facility planning. There is an emergency plan for MES in place given a mechanical or other unforeseen issue arising at MES that would prevent students from safely attending the building - see link below. Currently, there would be room for MES students at YES. YES is accessible and fully staff to meet special education student needs.
MES Emergency Plan
Estimated long term costs on maintenance of MES? Breakdown on costs.$300K is minimal maintenance costs to keep the building the same in the short-term, without triggering or addressing ADA compliance issues. The MES Task Force presentation (Cell K7) offers more information about capital maintenance and potential options and associated costs.
Do findings of Morrisonville Task Force effect what we are doing in CAC - interested to see? What are operational costs/square foot? What new developments/housing developments are planned? Will enrollment grow or stay stagnant? What % of people attending would choose Morrisonville vs. Yahara? How many parents are boundary excepting & choosing to send to other schools?Either way, they are at capacity, so how do we gauge increased capacity with new developments - either way they will need expansion! Disaster for HVAC issues in winter - what do kids do???This is a summary of the MES Task Force, as presented to the Board of Educationon March 12, 2018.
Yahara Elementary
How bad is the foundation?Per the presentation given, the foundation insulation would need to be replaced and new sheet metal flashing would be applied to protect the insulation around the entire perimeter of the building.
Is entire bldg air conditioned?Yes. All schools with the exception of Morrisonsville are climate controlled, including air conditioning.
Holum Education Center
Are there environment safety concerns? At what point is it deemed unsafe? Where does staff/students go?ADA is an issue. Asbestos is an issue for some renovations.
Enough space?Thus far, as enrollment has increased, so has the number of community-based 4K sites. The district is committed to a community-based approach at this time.
Renovation -vs- New Construction
Flexibility is key. Can you make existing spaces flexible & collaborative?
Yes, to a point. In general, existing spaces can be renovated, but one has to recognize that there are limitations. Existing facilities require working within a set of existing parameters. When trying to renovate existing spaces to be more open and collaborative, the challenges we typically face are:
~ Load-bearing masonry walls: creating openings or removing load bearing walls is expensive and sometimes cost prohibitive.
~ Low ceiling/floor to floor height: Many older school typically used through-wall ventilators for heating and cooling. As we look into renovating schools, many times there is inadequate ceiling height, or floor to floor height for duct work to be incorporated.
How can technology adapt to older and new buildings?Technology can be adapted to buildings and to instructional needs. Of course, some adaptations are easier than others. When we consider network technologies, one adaptation could trigger a series of dominoes or other necessary adaptations. In that case, long range planning is important to understand potential limitations or implications.

The District has a history of making the most of technology purchases through flexibility and creativity. As a result, we can adapt some classroom technologies to the location and vice versa. For example, in our new buildings, classrooms were cabled for two types of projection technologies (ceiling mounted and above whiteboards) for flexibility. Ceiling connections allowed us to reuse some technology and save money while still planning for future technologies. Connections above whiteboards allowed us to install new projection systems in select grade levels. That same flexibility isn’t possible without recabling in our older buildings.

We often add data drops in our older buildings to accommodate new systems or changes in use. For example, adding data drops to accommodate a new usage for a room where the drops don’t match the needed furniture placement. The change in the classroom appears to be small, but this adaptation might set off the first in a series of dominoes. Why? On the other end of every network cable is also a network device in a data closet. More drops added in classrooms means more connections are needed on the other end, so eventually these adaptations require more costly upgrades to network infrastructure. Thus a few more dominoes fall.

One aspect that isn’t easily adapted in older buildings is the cabling infrastructure. In some cases, it is the quantity of connections and in most, it is the quality or age of the connections. Older cabling technologies such as copper or CAT5 limit the amount of data that can travel through the building and eventually to the device (bandwidth). Older cabling means a smaller pipe for that data to travel to the device; it might mean a slower connections, but could pose a limitation to the learning environment. Although we find fiber in some classrooms (primarily at DAHS), most of the cabling is older CAT5 and copper which can’t accommodate our bandwidth or infrastructure goals. So what’s inside our walls and ceilings is another potential series of dominoes. As we build new learning environments, we need the infrastructure to support that learning

District-owned fiber connects each of our buildings with the exception of Morrisonville. MES is connected to District Office via a leased section of fiber through CenturyLink which means fewer available options for changes.

Classroom and instructional adaptations may be easier if the supporting infrastructure is as flexible and robust as possible.
How do we implement modern learning examples in our existing facilities?
Existing spaces can be adapted to be modern learning environments, but have limitations. One of the most non-invasive ways to improve learning environments is through furniture replacement.
Accessibility & Renovation/New BuildingsAny renovation or new facility needs to comply with the ADA and be fully accessible.
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