Perkins Board Of Ed Hears Preschool Expansion Options
Multiple options to expand Perkins Schools’ Little Treasures preschool program were presented to the Board of Education during a special meeting on Wednesday, November 1.
The informational meeting also enabled the Board to hear opinions from teachers, staff, and the community. Perkins Schools Superintendent Todd Boggs acknowledged that there is “great emotion” surrounding the various options.
“We have to execute a plan for the good of our school district’s family and our students,” Mr. Boggs said.
The preschool currently is at Furry Elementary, and has an enrollment of 107 students in the eight half-day classes. The building, which also houses kindergarten, 1st-grade, and 2nd-grade classes, is beyond capacity. Library and offices have been converted to educational spaces, and there is no more room for expansion without renovation.
The six options presented to the Board on Wednesday included preliminary cost estimates for necessary capital improvements and staffing changes that would be necessary for each alternative.
The options, as presented to the Board, are:
Modify the program offerings within the existing space. There are no cost estimates for this option, which would consider options for 3-, 4-, and 5-day preschool options, as well as considerations for transportation, tuition, and potty training.
Relocate preschool classes to the 600-wing (north end) of Perkins High School. This proposal would require high school classes to be moved elsewhere in the building. Plumbing for classroom bathrooms is already in place.
This option would carry a $250,000 to $300,000 increase in staffing costs, and $300,000 to $350,000 in capital costs.
Keep preschool at Furry, and shift grades across the district – 2nd grade to Meadowlawn Intermediate School, 5th grade to Briar Middle School, and 8th grade to PHS. With this plan, grades are grouped together to align educational services by building, though it would require an increase in staffing by more than seven.
The additional staffing costs are estimated at $525,000 and capital costs of $35,000 to $45,000.
Add modular classrooms or renovate Furry to expand classroom space. The costs of modular classrooms would range between $36,000 and $72,000, and initial costs of $50,000 to $75,000 to prepare for the classrooms. If the building is renovated for additional space, capital costs would be approximately $4 million. Personnel costs are estimated at $250,000.
Grade redistribution and consolidation of building. This would probably be the most extensive move with the conversion of Meadowlawn to an administrative center with transportation and custodial and maintenance departments. PHS would house Grades 6 to 12, Briar would have Grades 2 to 5, and Furry would have preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade. The most also carries capital costs of approximately $10 million and staffing costs of more than $350,000.
Move preschool to an off-site location, such as the Sandusky Mall. Capital costs for this option have not been determined, but are expected to be based on the availability of leased or purchased office space.
The Board took no action on the options at the meeting. Members, however, are expected to discuss the matter further at future meetings.
Expansion of the preschool is an objective within Perkins Schools’ Strategic Plan, which was adopted in January 2020. School administrators and education experts have called on the expansion of preschool programs as a means to improve literacy rates among young learners.