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Dialogue on Mequon-Thiensville properties continues in July

School District leaders mull selling facilities

June 17, 2013

Mequon — Administrators and board members of the Mequon-Thiensville School District want public input as they continue to consider the potential reconfiguration and sale of district properties.

The next discussion is scheduled for a School Board meeting at 7 p.m. July 15 in the Range Line building at 11036 N. Range Line Road.

Last year the School Board commissioned a study of the district's properties, resulting in a number of alternatives like consolidating the district's middle schools, closing or selling Lake Shore Middle School and Range Line Elementary, building additions to various schools, moving middle school students to the high school, or closing all but one of the elementary and middle schools before building a new K-6 building — among other reconfigurations meant to save the district money in the long term.

When reviewing the alternatives last summer, Superintendent Demond Means and the School Board concluded that the up-front cost of the reconfigurations, which ranged from $6.3 million to nearly $40 million, far outweighed the savings. The board later opted to fund ongoing maintenance rather than any big ticket infrastructure overhauls.

"(The study) clearly showed that there were no savings," Means said.

New alternative

One year later, the administration has a new alternative, an approximately $3.9 million project which would: sell the former Range Line Elementary building; consolidate all kindergarten into a renovated Lake Shore Primary Center; relocate sixth grade from the middle schools into the three elementary schools; consolidate seventh and eighth grade into Steffen Middle School; and relocate Range Line Recreational Department programming into the lower level of Lake Shore.

Means said the district doesn't yet have a buyer for the Range Line building. According to a district news release, the plan would create an estimated $800,000 in operational savings. However, Means said, a portion of those savings could be repeated yearly, while another portion would be a one-time reduction in operating costs.

"Once you find budgetary efficiencies in a year, you can't go back and use it again the next year," Means said.

In 'study mode'

A tentative schedule for the reconfiguration project shows a School Board decision in November, with the Lake Shore renovation beginning in July 2014 and concluding in September 2014. Means clarified that the deliberations are "very premature," and that the board is far from taking any action.

"We're truly in study mode, simply sharing options with the board at this time," Means said. "We're asking people to come in and give us their thoughts."

IF YOU GO

WHAT: School Board meeting on future facilities use

WHEN: 7 p.m. July 15

WHERE: Range Line Conference Room, 11036 N. Range Line Road

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