Enrollment prompts look at school expansion options

Increasing number of students forces district to consider adding classrooms, moving fifth grade, expanding middle school


Ozaukee Press staff

Facing increased enrollment, the Grafton School Board heard plans Monday to expand the district’s schools from Director of Business Services Topher Adams.

The two options being considered are adding four classrooms to Woodview and Kennedy elementary schools each or moving fifth grade classes, which are currently taught at the elementary schools, to John Long Middle School which would be expanded to accommodate eight additional classrooms.

Adams explained the need for expansion by showing this year’s increase in enrollment in the 4 and 5-year-old kindergarten programs, a trend he believes will continue.

“Looking at next year’s enrollment for 4-K, that’s trending higher,” he said, explaining that it could just be a bubble.

However, he said that it’s likely the district will begin to experience these bubbles more frequently.

“We are tracking this data to determine if we are tracking toward having every-other year bubbles or multiple-year bubbles instead of the occasional bubble,” he said.

Difficulties associated with adding four classrooms to each elementary school include the need for additional staff at two schools instead of one, a need to rework playground areas and awkward student flow to classes.

The middle school option would reduce parking and require new play equipment for the fifth grade.

For the time, however, the district can accommodate the large 4-K group entering next year.

“We can easily expand from five half-day sections to six by fully utilizing the room which houses the A.M. section,” he said.

The recent increased enrollment reverses a long standing decreasing enrollment trend that was interrupted by a brief boost from the introduction of a 4-K program in 2015.

“The declining enrollment we saw during the teens was not that surprising when you look at the relatively few single family housing starts in the village during that decade,” Adams said.

The number of housing permits issued from 2010 to 2018 combined was less than those issued in 2021 alone, according to Adams.

To pay for the expansion a referendum would be necessary, he said.

Supt. Jeff Nelson said the district has not yet reached out to parent groups or staff members about the expansion plans because they are still in early stages.

“We know there are a lot of questions that would go along with (this expansion),” he said.

The costs of both plans will be discussed at the next School Board Finance Committee.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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