"The board had a big decision to make that will shape the education of our students for years to come," said Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald, referring to the Monday, Oct. 21, approval of a recommendation made to the Kingsland School Board of Directors to "move to a single site," as the district examines how to efficiently educate its students to prepare them for "21st century careers" through the provision of a tech-ready building.

Although the decision was made last week, the process will be quite lengthy, requiring approval of a referendum, before any action is taken on moving students from Wykoff. The district also has to choose one of three possible options regarding a single campus in Spring Valley.

McDonald stated that examination of Kingsland's facility usage was begun over a year ago when the board started looking at the facilities in the district and the cost of educating students at both sites, studying the efficiency and quality of education they are giving students.

"That's when we brought in TSP and our architect, Troy Miller, who helped us with that study and presented information on the recommended improvements to ensure that the educational facilities meet the needs of our students," explained McDonald.

They held three study sessions - the first was on July 31, the second on Sept. 30, and the third study session was with the new facility committee on Oct. 14. The committee was formed Oct. 7, with members of the staff from each building, the activities director, the grounds and maintenance director, board and administration, and principals from both buildings. At the last study session, they brought the recommendation to move forward to a single site for the best education of students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Now that the board has chosen one of three options presented, it must decide on one of the three subdivided options presented by the committee.

The first of the third option's subdivided options, 3A, places a single campus at Spring Valley, offering educational improvements plus the construction of a field house, new locker rooms and a walking track for $12,820,731 over 20 years, which would impact taxes on a $100,000 homesteaded residential property at $114.64.

Option 3B would place a single campus in Spring Valley, including educational improvements, a field house, locker rooms, a walking track and a new auditorium at a cost of $16,941,679 over 20 years with an impact of $151.95.

The third, 3C, would create a single campus at Spring Valley, including educational improvements, a field house, new locker rooms, walking track, auditorium and bus garage for $17,264,687 over 20 years, with an impact of $154.53.

The school board had considered three options. The two options not chosen by the board both included making repairs at the Wykoff site.

The first option was to make repairs at the middle school building in Wykoff through the use of capital facilities bonds or alternative facilities bonds, without a vote of the district's patrons, at a cost of $116,427 of operating capital funds for 10 years. The capital facilities bonds would be a tax-neutral choice, but the alternative facilities bonds would impact taxes on a $100,000 homesteaded residential property at $85.74 per year.

The second option was to make repairs at both sites, including some educational improvements, using voter-approved building funds and alternative facilities bonds at a cost of $6,066,782, with a tax implication of $64.60 on voter-approved bonds, and $85.74 in alternative facilities bonds, for a total of $150.34 per year on a $100,000 home.

McDonald related that while a decision has been made to begin educating Kingsland's students at one site, continued study is in motion to determine which of the three subdivided options are the most educationally and financially beneficial to the district.

"We need to look at the details...there's still some work to be done to what this will look like, what the cost and impact will be to taxpayers, but we want to do a good job," said McDonald. "We have four weeks to study the recommendation and get more of the specifics of educating students at a single site so we can bring more recommendations to the board on Nov. 18, to make a decision that that's the direction we're going in or not."

He reiterated that "this is not a quick or hasty decision," and that "the board put everything on the table."

The upcoming workshops ere set for Tuesday, Oct. 29, and again Tuesday, Nov. 6, Monday, Nov. 11 and Wednesday, Nov. 13. The board and committees can meet, but can take no action during workshops.

The regular monthly board meeting is slated for Monday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room, and the public is welcome to attend.

For more information, call the Kingsland district office at (507) 346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us.