The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 04, 2021 1:00 am

SACS to analyze future growth

Population boom could lead to school additions

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Residential growth along the district's northern border has Southwest Allen County Schools leaders planning for a bigger student body.

Superintendent Park Ginder presented a proposal Wednesday to hire architecture firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa to conduct a growth feasibility study for Summit Middle School and two elementary buildings, Deer Ridge and Whispering Meadows.

The proposed fee is $34,000.

Future crowding is expected from development along and near Bass Road, where there are approved plans for about 1,000 houses with the potential for many more, Ginder said.

SACS has considered possibilities to buy land in that area, he said, but most properties were sold before the district could act or were unappealing because of floodplains or lack of space for a new school.

Because of that, Ginder said, the district is considering adding to Summit, Deer Ridge and Whispering Meadows. He shared potential floor plans for how each school could expand.

“These are incredibly rough sketches – I'm an art teacher, not an architect,” Ginder said. “But it gives you an idea of where we might be able to add on at different schools.”

The improvements would likely require more than expanding the schools' footprints, Ginder said. Other rooms of the schools – such as cafeterias and physical education areas – might need to grow, too. “The simple addition of classrooms may not suffice,” Ginder said.

Barton-Coe-Vilamaa would help SACS determine the best and most feasible plans for the three schools, pending board approval Nov. 16, he said.

In other business, the board unanimously ratified the one-year collective bargaining agreement with the teachers union. Members Bradley Mills and Jennifer Bennett were absent.

The contract, which was presented during a special meeting last week, sets the base salary range at $43,500 to $78,500. Compared with the previous agreement, the minimum is $2,500 higher, and the maximum is $3,000 higher.

A points system will help determine individual raises. Teachers receive six points – also called units – for being rated effective or highly effective. They may also earn up to three points for university credits – an incentive for teachers to pursue a master's or other advanced degree.

Each unit is valued at $636.

Northwest Allen County Schools will be the last Allen County district to approve a new teachers contract. A tentative agreement will be presented during a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, and the ratification process is scheduled to be completed Nov. 12.

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