Our total school population is projected to increase by 30% in 20 years (2005-2025), but the next decade’s growth will mostly be at the secondary-school level, as large cohorts currently in the elementary schools move up to the Middle and H.S., requiring additional classroom space soon. After studying the situation and options, the School Enrollment Task Force has recommended the following:
- Add six additional permanent classrooms at the Thompson Elementary School, with temporary modular classrooms on site in the interim. The approximately $4,000,000 addition would be funded through exempt borrowing (a debt exclusion, in excess of Prop 2 1/2 limits), if approved by a vote on June 14, 2016. More information about the elementary school
- Re-open the Gibbs School as either a second middle school (6,7 & 8), or create a 6th grade only school for the entire town, with 7th and 8th grades remaining in the Ottoson. The estimated $25,000,000 would be funded through exempt borrowing if approved on June 14, 2016. In the meantime, temporary modular classrooms may be sited at the Ottoson. More information about the middle school issues and options can be found on the Arlington schools web site: http://www.arlington.k12.ma.us/administration/facilitiesenrollment/middleschool/
For a good introduction to the enrollment issue, watch this discussion with Finance Committee member Dean Carman and former Selectman Annie LaCourt:
These reports from McKibben Demographic Research document the projections which are used for planning purposes, and the methodology used for the projections:
- Population and Enrollment Forecasts 2015-2016 through 2024-2025 (June 2015)
- Updated Population and Enrollment Forecasts (December 2015)
In September, HMFH Architects which summarizes the enrollment forecasts, existing schools and available space and expansion potential, alternatives for supporting the increasing enrollment, and reference materials such as floor plans of the elementary schools.
- Space Planning Study Report for Arlington Public Schools (September 2015)
In November 2015, the School Enrollment Task Force was formed to study the problem of supporting the increasing number of students and make recommendations to the Town authorities.