Valpo schools to reconsider all school buildings purpose this summer
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 6, 2013 11:22PM
VALPARAISO — Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Mike Berta Jr. officially reopened talks about the district’s school buildings on Monday.
During the school board discussion meeting, Berta referred to the four feasibility studies of the elementary buildings done in 2008 and 2009 but added that this time studies will include the high school, middle school and career center.
The board squelched any public input on the matter, a decision that brought many hostile responses from many residents in the audience.
Instead, Board President Mark Maasel asked that questions be held until the June 3 discussion meeting on the matter.
Maasel also asked that people ask themselves “what does a good process look like” for discussing the schools and possible closure.
“There’s a fair chance this might lead to a referendum,” he said.
Some of the 2008 studies suggested closing the eight elementary schools and creating larger central elementary schools.
Berta said one thing will drive considerations of the schools, “what does this facility do to facilitate learning and teaching?”
Berta noted the school corporation had facility studies done in April 2008, in July 2008, in September 2008 and December 2009, but the school acted on none of them.
Gibraltar Design of Indianapolis, which did the final study, will update them for $25,000.
The money will come from left over bond proceeds and should be completed in August or September and brought before the public then.
Berta also said there was a 2008 demographic study of student migration and house building in the district that he contacted the author about updating.
That should be done about July or August, but the cost is unknown, Berta said.
Maasel noted as he disallowed public input that the meeting had gone beyond the planned 90 minutes deadline — eventually by about 40 minutes.
Before Berta’s presentation, Maasel cut off Landon Davison, president of the Valparaiso High School Student Education Association, who was suggesting that the matter be tabled for another meeting to allow for more input.
The school corporation plans to put all the 2008-2009 studies on its website, and Director of Technology Bill Moran said some are up there but need to be organized better.