A citizens committee studying a proposal to merge Longview’s high schools put off a recommendation Thursday, saying it needs more information about the costs and savings of the move.

“We’ve got reams of data, but it’s not been assimilated. We don’t have enough to make a decision,” said Kent Cash, a member of the 48-person Longview School District’s Facilities Planning Committee.

The committee is studying how the district should deal with declining enrollment and boosting the quality of education.

Ten members volunteered Thursday night to serve on a subcommittee to draft a plan to submit at the next full committee meeting.

“It’s always been my policy to put something up on the wall and let people shoot at it,” said committee member Bob Guide, a retired Longview Fibre Co. executive.

More than 60 members of the public attended the meeting, held in the board room at the district administration building, but there was little time for public comment.

Members were given more data on enrollment declines and building costs and viewed aerial photos showing how a single high school is feasible on the R.A. Long-Monticello campus.

Consultant Scott Rose told the committee the cost of creating the new campus would be “in the $12 million to $14 million range.” (The estimate does not include costs connected with other district buildings.)

The committee wanted to hear more, asking that the ASB presidents of R.A. Long and Mark Morris high schools give an impromptu report from a student meeting earlier in the day.

Seniors Maverick Knoles of Mark Morris and Abbie Hanson of R.A. Long said the students came to the meeting hating the idea of a merger, but left feeling more in favor of the idea.

“A lot of kids were really uninformed,” Abbie said. “Writing pros and cons made them think.”

One of the committee members asked if the students realized that consolidation would mean there would only be one ASB president.

The reality is, “as far as ASB, I ran unopposed,” Maverick said. “Combining would maybe spark more interest. I’d love to run against Abbie — and beat her.”

He also pointed out that in his sport, cross country, “at Mark Morris we don’t even have a C team. There’s a perception that if we combine, a lot of kids won’t get to do sports — but there’s a lot of room left on these teams.”

The student leaders said they’ll compile data from a student survey they took and provide it to the committee.

Minutes of the meeting and copies of the information they were given will be posted on the school district’s website.

(7) comments

Elvira

Who are the ten who "volunteered" to study the costs/benefits? I assume that's what the subcommittee has been charged to do. The 55 member committee is weighted very heavily with retired folks and folks that don't have any children in the Longview Public School system. Also, a lot of parents or alumni of RA Long. Will this subcommittee really be objective about the "data" they present. This expensive process has been shoved down our throats from the beginning. "Stake-holders"need to speak up.

Diane Dick

Declining enrollment and boosting the quality of education are two different goals, so I hope the committee keeps their eye on the ball. Declining enrollment means less revenue which means how do you fulfill your mission with less money. Quality of education is a very vague phrase which can mean anything from fewer pupils per teacher, more and varied course offerings, increasing teaching skills and knowledge, to longer school days depending on who you talk to. Most of it wil increase costs.

navarre

Kudos to the committee for requesting more specifics! Here is a start. For the staff and students—
1. Will there be adequate number of bathrooms?
2. Lockers (How many students will have to share one locker?)
3. Parking issues?
4. Cafeteria space? (How many lunch periods—will some be eating lunch at 10AM?)
5. Science –how many lab stations are in the classrooms? Will the student numbers match the lab stations? Will there be an adequate budget for consumables and equipment?

navarre

6. Predicted PE class size? Safety is an issue. Sports equipment will need more
more replacement and repart.
7. Predicted music class sizes? Budget for additional sheet music? Instruments?
8. Technology classes—consumables, equipment? Is there adequate space in classrooms? Lab space?
9. Computer labs? How many are available? What is the current usage? Is there plenty of open time in both schools now so merging will not cause a problem?

Commercial Construction Manager

The $12 to $14 million estimate is LOW - having managed the construciton of remodel and new K-12 school around the state, including Barnes Elem., KHS, Curtis Jr HS, Yelm HS and countless others, I feel save in saying that this estimate does not include design fees, permits, furniture/equipment, taxes, let alone a descent contingency fund for design errors (ie Mt. Solo's roof). I will say this however, contrary to what some might think- there are some HIGHLY knowlagable people on the committee.

Leslie Slape
Leslie Slape

The subcommittee: Dan Frazier, Nelson Graham, Bob Guide, Jody Kirkpatrick, Doug Koenig, Lisa Matye Edwards, James Mossman, Rhonda Nofsinger, Ted Sprague, Melissa Taylor.

reader2

you schools need no more tax money to build for such dismissal of one school to make another crowded, no benefit to students, all to sale the land to who?

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