Lakeville Area Public Schools is beginning the process of developing a long-range plan to better meet identified needs in facilities, programs and resources.
At its retreat March 7, Executive Director of Business Services Michael Baumann presented the five-year plan to the Board of Education, which the board took under advisement with intent to bring parts back for discussion March 21.
The presentation was the result of weeks of administrators’ efforts to identify needs and available resources over a longer period than the district has done previously. The goal is to give board members additional information that can be used to direct district administrators’ efforts, Baumann said.
“Nothing here is written in stone. Our intent is to shape district requirements moving forward” issues around programs, facility space needs, and maintenance must be viewed in the context of projected budgets that are based on current financial estimates and administration enrollment projections, Baumann told board members and the public.
The planning considerations are based on a number of important budget planning assumptions, including:
- A 2 percent increase in the General Education funding formula
- Increases in salaries and benefits
- Health insurance premiums increasing 10 percent, with the district picking up 5 percent of those costs
- Enrollment projections showing a slight increase
- Renewal of the 2007 and 2010 operating levies in 2017 and 2020, respectively
- 2015 capital levy referendum expenditures for STEM, security emergency management and classroom technology that are carried forward in accordance with the plan.
Financially, the district is in good condition, but has used some of its reserves in recent years when planned expenditures have exceeded revenues slightly, Baumann said. Assuming modest increases in revenue (below inflation) and spending remains on current trajectory, the district has to plan adjustments to stay above the 5 percent general fund unassigned fund balance in fiscal year 2019.
The district is effectively managing debt. Currently the district uses only $578,000 of the $2.5 million it is authorized to levy for leased space, which includes arenas, special education facilities and MNCAPS space at the Minnesota School of Business, Baumann said. The district is only using $135 million of its authorized $993 million debt limit for bonding that pays for facility construction, such as the bonds sold to help build Lakeville South High School.
“In 2024, we have a precipitous drop off in debt” as a result of paying off more of those construction and long term deferred maintenance costs, Baumann said.
That will be important as the district looks to the future and tries to meet space needs to handle projected enrollment growth. The district’s long-term facilities committee report identifies needs for space throughout the district. Most notably, the committee members identified near-term need for space to accommodate a growing number of elementary school students. Solutions could include some combination of leasing portables, building additions to existing elementary schools or a new elementary school, Baumann said.
The district has some immediate needs for space as well: Its lease on the current Community Education building will end this summer, and new space must be found. Board members and administration both said options to lease space at the Minnesota School of Business – where the Minnesota Center for Advanced Professional Studies (MNCAPS) program is housed – would be less costly than current space on Holyoke Avenue in downtown Lakeville.
It also may make sense from a long-term financial perspective to address other space needs, Baumann said. For example, a proposed move of teaching and learning staff from the current community education building to Lakeville North High School may be short-sighted based on need for classroom space as the STEM Biomedical Science program launching in 2017-18 grows. That could trigger need for a second move, potentially costing more money than if an option could be identified that did not use learning spaces.
The plan included four possible scenarios: Two called for moving current community education facilities and staff from downtown Lakeville to Crystal Lake Education Center and the Minnesota School of Business, while Teaching and Learning and LinK12-Lakeville would move to Lakeville North High School. Two other scenarios called for examining moving the district office to the Minnesota School of Business — where MNCAPS is housed — to better facilitate administration collaborative work, meeting space, and provide some improved instructional space. That proposal was rejected by the Board of Education members.
The retreat also offered board members a chance to advise the district administration on how best to prioritize requests from Education Minnesota-Lakeville, district staff, and the community, including expansion of programming, said Dr. Emily McDonald, executive director of Teaching and Learning. All told, the 10 requests brought to the board for consideration this year would add $5.5 million annually to the district’s budget.
At the end of the meeting, board members prioritized 10 of those requests as places to start should funding become available. The board reached the highest level of consensus in 3 areas: adding more middle school options through redesign, including, STEM and electives (18.7 FTEs); adding more world languages (3 FTEs); and adding more music, band and choir teachers at the secondary level (10 FTEs).
The board is expected to consider options for moving LinK12-Lakeville, Teaching and Learning and Community Education at its March 21 study session. Other parts of the plan are expected to be considered at a later date.