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Eveleth-Gilbert-Virginia Educational Task Force
 
The world of education for K-12 students continues to grow and evolve. Providing engaging curriculum and valuable life skills to prepare students for their careers is critical. Both Eveleth-Gilbert Public Schools and Virginia Minnesota Public Schools agree that this education period is crucial for our communities’ learners. Community members from both districts were invited to participate on a Community Task Force Committee. The committee’s goal? To study the potential of an Academy Model for a combined High School campus.Starting this past August, 60 community members attended the first Community Task Force meeting to discuss the mission, vision, and overall objectives. These 60 community members were grouped into the four sub-committees including Facilities, Finance, Communications/Outreach, and Transportation. Each committee currently met independently and reported back to the Community Task Force as a whole.
 
 

Community Involvement




Community involvement has been extensive. There have been over 90 combined meetings involving both the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia communities. These combined meetings have included school board members, parents, business leaders, retirees, community members, teachers, and students. Three of these meetings involved sending individuals to visit Alexandria High School, the earliest prototype of a Career Academy in the State of Minnesota. Many of these combined meetings have involved citizens of both school districts. During these meetings, residents have worked together to determine the best way to deliver true 21st century education to the students on the East Range. Additionally, both school districts recently cooperated on a combined survey to determine what area residents thought of the collaborative efforts. In the survey, out of over 1,850 surveys, a majority of all subgroups and 77% of all respondents support the Districts working together to form a formal partnership to build a High School Career Academy at a neutral site, between the three communities and update the elementary schools.
 


Educational Academy Task Force

August 2018-September 2018
Goal:  Identify three or four academies that meet the needs of the students on the range
Objective and Process:
•Community members were invited to participate and give direction at three meetings held on August 8, 15, and 22
•Used large group/small group discussions
•Used Post-It-Notes for sharing thoughts and ideas
•Committee recommendation of a model that best fits needs of student


Community Joint Task Force Committees

September 19-November 14, 2018

The Community Task Force Committees met on November 14, 2018 in the Eveleth-Gilbert High School Auditorium. The five committees; including the facilities, finance, communications, transportation and site committees, have been studying the Career Academy High School model since August of 2018. After many hours of extensive study, listed below are the conclusions and recommendations made by the facilities task force committee. The facilities committee agreed that existing facilities at both the Eveleth- Gilbert and the Virginia High School locations are not appropriate for a Career Academy High School. The current buildings do not have the amounts, or the types of spaces needed for an Academy H.S. They also have significant barriers to cost effective remodeling or expansion and are costly to operate and maintain. Additionally, the locations (sites) of current facilities are not large enough to accommodate the expansion needed for the combined Career Academy Model without significant cost to purchase additional land. Therefore, the facilities committee unanimously supports and recommends building a new 7-12 Career Academy High School, built on a neutral site between the communities of Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia. The site committee is currently evaluating a number of potential neutral sites suitable for the location of a new school.

View the Joint Task Force Final Presentation here.


Transportation Committee
























Four meetings looking at:













We believe transportation shouldn't be the driving force behind doing this.
We can make it work!






Conclusions:



Communications/Outreach

  • Committee met on November 1, 2018
  • Reviewed and discussed the advice given following the large group meeting
  • Brainstormed some "Fast Facts" used to answer questions accurately and consistently moving forward
  • Finished our newsletter that was sent out as a Chamber e-mail blast on November 12
  • Linked newsletter to Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school webpages
  • Discussed some strategies moving forward to promote the plan
    • Develop a theme for supporting the Career Academy campaign
    • Create testimonials video's
    • Invite and engage area businesses to develop partnerships


Facilities Committee

  • Approximately 25 people meet weekly from September-November 14
  • Existing facilities are not appropriate for an Academy style high school;
    • They are expensive to Operate and Maintain
    • Significant barriers to cost effective remodeling
    • Locations (sites) are not large enough to accommodate expansion
View the Building Deficiencies Presentation from September 25, 2018 here.

















The Facilities Committee unanimously supports a 6-12 Middle School and Academy High School
Concept, but due to the Financial Committees concerns we also fully support a 7-12 Concept as that may be necessary,













Amenities for the new Facility:
  • A 1,500 seat auditorium
  • 8 lane pool with diving pool
  • Additional space for Industrial Tech,FACS, and music
  • Full practice fields
  • 2,500 seat stadium with track, turf field and lighting
Outdoor Field Option Selected:


















What do we do with Existing Surplus Buildings?
Put buildings on the market to be sold for possible reuse and/or redevelopment for two years after election date.  If they don't sell-deconstruct buildings and work wit local cities to discuss land options.

We included the costs to deconstruct in the project budget.
BUDGET = $7,560,000




Operational & Maintenance Comparison (7-12)








Potential Savings of $1.05M to $1.3M

*New 7-12
Considered a combination of Industry Stanrds for:
  • Utilities ($/sqft)
  • Staff to maintain site/grounds (staff/acre)
  • Staff to clean/maintain facility (staff/sqft)
  • 275,000 sqft, 55 acres and 1,260 students
Note:  Preliminary estimates will be refined as scope is more defined.

Conclusion:
  1. Solid plan for new 7-12 (saving dollars by connecting)
  2. Existing buildings not suitable for Academy style high school
  3. Established amenities our communities'/schools' desire
  4. Plan for our elementary schools (using existing buildings)
  5. Plan for use of any buildings not used
  6. We can save significant dollars in operations and maintenance by coming together
  7. $161M current price tag, but need to verify amenity levels


Site Committee

Site Requirements:
  • MDE guidelines recommend 45 acres for a high school plus 1 acre for every 100 students.  (58 acres for 7-12)
  • The land needs to be usable or made usable.  That is, wetland areas and areas with significant topographic issues should not be counted unless it can be remediated.

























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Finance Committee

Bond Assumptions:
  • 20 year bond issue
  • 4.5% interest rate
  • Level principal and interest rates
  • Bonds issued July 1 , 2019, first levy taxes payable 2020
    • Capitalized Interest (Approximately $5m - $6m, depending on bond amount
  • State aid at current levels
  • IRRRB support for all bonds from the Iron Range School Consolidation and Cooperation Account
Financial Implications:
  • Project/Bond Size:  $155 m to $175 m
  • State Aid:  $5 m to $7 m annually
  • IRRRB Contribution:  $4 m to $6 m
  • Tax Impact:  $150 to $275 annually
    • Designed to be equal in both communities for a home valued at $125,000


Companies Selected to Build, Design and Promote Project



Community Task Force Workshops















January 8 and 9, 2019
 
The Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia Schools Educational Academies Task Force has moved into a new phase. The task force was created for the purpose of digging deeper into details on how the Career Academies might look and operate on the East End of the Range. This initial discussion, because of the financing involved, has also begun to consider the possibility of remodeling all/most of the current elementary buildings. The primary focus will, however, continue to be the High School Career Academies. The primary topics discussed at these meetings will be:
  • Reviewing where we've been and where we are going
  • Envisioning the future
  • Conceptualizing design and site options
  • Synthesizing conceptual design and real costs
The Academies recommended for the East end of the Range by the Educational Academies Task Force are:
  • Health Sciences, Technology, and Human Services
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Technology, Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (Skilled Trades found in this Academy)
  • Business, Management, Administration, Arts, Communications, and Information Systems


Community Survey

The survey was conducted in late December/early January of 2018-2019. Residents within the Districts were mailed a paper survey. Each survey included a unique survey access code for those who preferred to take the survey online.

Total responses = 1,855 (851 paper)

Participation rate = 18%

Margin of error = +/- 2.3%


View ;the Community Survey Results here.


























 


Student Task Force

HIGHEST HOPES!
  • To have fun at school
  • Collaborative learning
  • Spread out and comfortable spaces for individual, group, and full class learning
  • Writing surfaces for student brainstorming in Common areas
  • A place to be comfortable and a place to chill out and do homework
  • Comfort
  • Bring
  • Open
  • Modern design
  • Well organized
  • Air conditioning
  • A huge library
  • Large Commons
  • Connected Social Space
  • Diverse classes
  • Freedom/Flexibility
  • Think outside the classroom

Review the complete Student Survey Results here.   
View the Student Presentation given at the Joint Board meeting on February 5th here.







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Eveleth-Gilbert-Virginia Elementary School Workshop











































The Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia Schools Educational Academies Task Force has moved into a new phase. The task force was created for the purpose of digging deeper into details on how the Career Academies might look and operate on the East End of the Range. This initial discussion, because of the favorable financing involved, and because what occurs at the elementary level is relevant for the High School Academies, also involves considering the possibility of remodeling all/most of the current elementary buildings.

There will be an Educational Academies Task Force meeting on Thursday, January 24th, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Gilbert School Media Center, Gilbert, MN. (Snacks and food will be available.)

The primary topics discussed at this meeting will be:
1. Envisioning the future
2. Elementary school configurations and what is the best use of tax dollars for current and future       
    students
3. Conceptualizing design and site options
4. Synthesizing conceptual design

The High School Academies recommended for the East end of the Range by the Educational Academies Task Force are:
Health Sciences, Technology, and Human Services
Engineering, Manufacturing, Technology, Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (Skilled Trades found in this Academy)
Business, Management, Administration, Arts, Communications, and Information Systems.

View the presentation here.



 


Joint School Board Meeting

Tuesday, February 5th @ 6:00 pm
Northeast Service Coop

Agenda
1. Call Working Session to Order.

2. Discussion with Eveleth-Gilbert School Board.

2. 1. Review Eveleth-Gilbert-Virginia School Districts community survey results.

2. 2. Receive updates on the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia student tour of current facilities and visit to
Alexandria High School.

2. 3. Receive updates on the current status of discussions between the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school committees.

2. 4. Receive updates on the High School Career Academies construction costs and tax details.

2. 5. Receive updates on the elementary school remodel/redesign construction costs and tax details.

2. 6. Discuss timeline for school board voting and public bond referendum vote.

2. 7. Discuss what is potentially included on the public bond referendum vote.

3.  Meeting Announcements



Link to Student Survey: http://bit.ly/2SiMdbI
Link to Student Presentation given at the Joint Board meeting: http://bit.ly/2HXLE2r
Link to Kraus Anderson Construction Cost and Tax Details Presentation: http://bit.ly/2E13TAc
Link to Elementary School Workshop: http://bit.ly/2teVse2
Link to Eveleth Gilbert Virginia Tax Impact: http://bit.ly/2DqTooi
Link to Eveleth Gilbert Tax Impact to fix buildings on their own: http://bit.ly/2Dw9Bbt
Link to Virginia Tax Impact to fix buildings on their own: http://bit.ly/2E3IPcg
Link to Video of Joint Board meeting recorded by Mesabi Community TV: https://vimeo.com/316014684
 


Public Information, Dialogue, and Listening Sessions

On the possibility of remodeling/renovating/building new some of the elementary schools: 

Wednesday, February 6: 9:00 a.m. Gilbert Elementary Media Center
Wednesday, February 6: 12:00 (noon) Gilbert Elementary Media Center
Wednesday, February 6: 5:30 p.m. Gilbert Elementary Media Center
Thursday, February 7: 9:00 a.m. Eveleth High School Board Room
Thursday, February 7: 12:00 (noon) Eveleth High School Boardroom
Thursday, February 7: 5:30 p.m. Eveleth High School Board Room
Tuesday, February 12: 9:00 a.m. Virginia High School Board Room
Tuesday, February 12: 12:00 (noon) Virginia High School Boardroom
Tuesday, February 12: 5:30 p.m. Virginia High School Board Room

All meetings will be the same. Attend whichever meeting is most convenient for you.

Link to Dialog, Information and Listening Sessions Presentation: http://bit.ly/2E3qI5Y


Updated Financial Package

If something is done, how much will it cost?
Depending on which option is selected, the total price tag will be very close to either $164 million or $181 million.

What do the taxpayers get for $164 million?
● A brand new combined 7-12 High School Career Academy at a neutral site [$114 million]
● A lightly remodeled Eveleth Elementary in Eveleth. This replaces all mechanicals, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical. The building will look essentially the same. [$19 million]
● A lightly remodeled Roosevelt Elementary in Virginia. This replaces all mechanicals, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical. The building will look essentially the same. [$19 million]
● Taxpayers in the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school districts pay only 16% of the actual costs

What do the taxpayers get for $181 million?
● A brand new combined 7-12 High School Career Academy at a neutral site [$114 million]
● A heavily remodeled or new Eveleth Elementary in Eveleth. The building will be transformed into a 21st Century Elementary School.[$27 million]
● A heavily remodeled or new Roosevelt Elementary in Virginia. The building will be transformed into a 21st Century Elementary School. [$29 million]
● Taxpayers in the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia school districts pay only 20% of the actual costs
















Where is the money coming from to pay for this?
The money will come from three sources:
   1. The IRRRB. The two school districts are asking IRRRB for a significant contribution of a minimum           of 4.99 million per year for 20 years.
   2. The State of Minnesota. Because the State of Minnesota considers the Virginia School District the          “poorer” of the two districts, this can be leveraged for a larger state contribution of either 5.5
         million per year ($164 million project) or 6 million ($181 million project) per year for 20 years.
   3.  Local taxpayers. Under the $164 million project, local taxpayers will be contributing approximately         $3 million a year and under the $181 million project, local taxpayers will be contributing           
        approximately $3.6 million a year.










 


Frequently Asked Questions

Use this link http://bit.ly/2Smo9Vz to view the Frequently Asked Questions document.


Next Steps

1.  Listening Sessions on February 7, 8, and 12 on elementary options
2.  IRRRB meeting to establish and approve funding for project:  Friday, February 22
3.  Thursday, February 28 School Board meetings (potential school board vote set for May, 2019)
4.  Tuesday, May 14:  Public vote