Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Post LRSD Board of Directors Acceptance of
Facilities Master Plan with Modifications
Q. What is a Facilities Master Plan?
A. A Facilities Master Plan is a “blueprint” for renovation and new construction necessary to enhance alignment of Little Rock School District educational programs and physical structures. It establishes standards; measures how well the educational facilities meet established standards; identifies where physical improvements and adjustments are needed; provides solutions to address those problems; and determines the potential cost and timeline for implementing the solutions.
Q. Why is it needed and how often should it be updated/revisited?
A. The Little Rock School District Facilities Master Plan was driven by the need to address aging school infrastructure, enrollment increases at the middle and high school levels, air- conditioned school kitchens, and to remove portables from school sites. The plan should be revisited in approximately 3 years with an update in 5 years to ensure responsible implementation. This will allow for adjustments in recommendations if significant changes have occurred in enrollment patterns, educational program delivery methods and approaches.
Q. What does it mean for the future of the Little Rock School District?
A. The implementation of the Little Rock School District Facilities Master Plan will result in new and improved school facilities that are efficient, as well as aligning student enrollment with school capacity. Cost savings will be realized through the development of energy efficient buildings.
Q. Based on the findings of this study, where do you see the most need?
A. The greatest needs exist in keeping schools warm, safe, and dry, as well as addressing the capacity needs at the middle and high school levels.
Q. What is the difference between capacity and utilization?
A. The school capacity is the number of students that can be accommodated in a building based on the number and type of spaces available, as well as educational and other program offerings. An example would be a portion of Washington Elementary assigned to Kindergarten staff and City Year AmeriCorps volunteers. If the space was converted to academic classrooms, the capacity of Washington would be higher. Another example is the infant program offered at Rockefeller Elementary School. If this space was recaptured for regular education use, the capacity of the school would increase. The utilization compares the number of students actually enrolled at a school with how many students can be accommodated. If a school has a capacity of 500 students and an enrollment of 400 students, the utilization is 80% (400 enrolled divided by the 500 student capacity).
Q. Did Little Rock School District Facilities Master Plan identify a need for all schools?
A. Yes, improvements were identified for all Little Rock School District facilities including Roberts Elementary, the district’s newest school.
Q. What are some needs identified in LRSD final Facilities Master Plan Study?
A. There are a number of school improvements identified in the Facilities Master Plan. The addition of dedicated art and music classrooms, as well as student activity centers at elementary schools, alignment of space and enrollment at the middle and high school levels, air-conditioned kitchens, removal of portables at schools, to name a few.
Q. What did the Study reveal about the needs for middle and high schools in LRSD?
A. The Facilities Master Plan found that the Little Rock School District will need an additional middle school and the expansion of an existing middle school to accommodate the projected student enrollment during the next 10 years. At the high school level, additional space will be needed during the next 10 years that is best addressed through the construction of a new high school.
Q. What are the specific issues at McClellan High School and Cloverdale Middle School that warrants replacement of these facilities?
A. The issues at McClellan High School are inadequate spaces to sufficiently support the high school educational program, classroom upgrades, and kitchen upgrade. The building, especially the academic area has significant physical needs. Cloverdale Middle School is experiencing sinking due to the soil on which the school was built. Several years ago pylons were installed under portions of Cloverdale as a way to stabilize the school. Each year measurements are taken to determine if the school has shifted or continues to sink. Rather than continue to invest in Cloverdale it is suggested that the academic portion of McClellan be demolished and rebuilt on a scale to accommodate the Cloverdale Middle School. The gym and auditorium portions of McClellan would be refurbished. The McClellan High School program would be relocated to a new high school.
Q. Have decisions been made about closing schools?
A. There has been no decision made to close schools. However, an option was made for two different schools to be repurposed. One option is to relocate Carver Elementary to another school and the facility be converted to a Pre-Kindergarten Center. Another option recommends that the Rockefeller Elementary School be totally converted to a Pre-Kindergarten Center. The second option for Carver and Rockefeller is that each school be renovated and remain as they currently exist.
Q. What does the potential bond mean for the average homeowner?
A. It depends on both the millage increase and the value of each home. An example is of a 2 mil increase and a home valued at $100,000. The county determines the tax valuation at 20 percent of the home value, which would be $20,000 using the $100,000 example. The $20,000 would then be multiplied by a factor of .02 which will result in an additional $40 per year in taxes.
Below you will find a table that further lists the cost impact by month, week, and day for the owner of a $100,000 house based on an increase of $50, $60, or $70 of new taxes per year.
Impact on Voters Owning $100,000 Home
Q. What is the connection between improved facilities and the academic performance of students?
A. There are a number of studies that have shown a correlation between improved facility conditions, such as natural daylighting, air quality, and sound, resulting in better academic performance. For example, Heschong Mahone, in their study entitled “Day Lighting in Schools” discovered a positive correlation between natural light and student performance. The study demonstrated that students in classrooms with the most natural illumination performed at a high level on standardized tests than in classrooms with the least daylighting. Students scored 20 percent and 26 percent higher on math and reading tests, respectively.
Q. What are the next steps?
A. The Facilities Master Plan has been accepted with modifications by Little Rock School District Board of Directors.
- Board of Directors will determine final recommendations
- Bond may be sought to implement recommendations
- Facilities Master Plan is implemented
Q. How can stakeholders continue to have a say in the process?
A. Information about future involvement will be posted on the Little Rock School District main webpage by the LRSD Communications Department. The department will utilize various forms of communication to inform the public of opportunities to participate in the implementation of Little Rock School District Facilities Master Plan.
Q. Who may I contact if I would like to be involved in the next phase of the Facilities Master Planning Process?
A. Kelsey Bailey at 501-447-1010 or Kelsey.Bailey@lrsd.org .
Pre FMP FAQ’s ______________________________________________________
Q. What is a Facilities Master Plan?
A. A Facilities Master Plan is a way to review the current condition of the Little Rock School District (LRSD) educational and support facilities and provide guidance for future enrollment, facilities maintenance and improvement, and other topics.
The Facilities Master Planning Process begins with an inventory of buildings, including schools, as well as other spaces such as offices, warehouses, and maintenance facilities that LRSD operates. For this description, the primary focus will be on schools.
As part of the inventory, each school is assessed for its physical condition and educational adequacy. On the physical side, the assessment addresses questions regarding each school such as are buildings safe? Are improvements needed to meet current building code? Are electrical, plumbing, or mechanical repairs or upgrades needed? What are the costs of repairs or replacement and what has already been improved, renovated, or replaced?
On the educational side, the questions to be addressed are whether there is sufficient space for the number of students and is there too much space for the number of students? Do the spaces in the building provide the right type of environment for what is being taught? Is the technology sufficient?
Once the inventory and assessments are complete, the next step is to look to the future and analyze whether or not the buildings meet LRSD’s needs. The future enrollment is considered, as well as where students are likely to reside in relationship to where the schools are located. What changes in curriculum are anticipated that may require different or additional space?
The Facilities Master Plan is developed and presented to the Superintendent and Board of Directors for review and consideration.
Q. What is the goal of the plan?
A. The goal is to develop a plan that serves as a blueprint for school improvements. The Facilities Master Plan will look at current conditions, anticipate needs, identify challenges and opportunities, and chart a path for future improvement.
Q. What are the needs that the plan will address?
A. The plan will consider three main areas of need…physical, educational, and utilization.
Q. What are the physical needs?
A. The physical needs are the “bricks and mortar” needs of a building. Just like our homes, parts of the school buildings, no matter how well maintained, have a life expectancy. The plan will assess the current condition of the buildings and determine if and when major systems, such as the roof or the heating system, will need to be repaired or replaced.
Q. What are the educational needs?
A. The plan will evaluate the educational adequacy of each building. Educational adequacy does not refer to test scores but rather the ability of the physical space to support the school’s educational program. Educational adequacy questions to be addressed may include whether there is sufficient space for the number of students or if there is too much space for the number of students housed at a school? Do the spaces in the school provide the right type of environment for what is being taught? Is the technology sufficient?
Q. What are the utilization needs?
A. Utilization needs refer to the number, location, and size of the schools. The plan will consider the student capacity of each school and the current and projected enrollment. The capacity of a school compared to the number of students is the utilization. The goal is to align the buildings with the number of students so that our schools are used efficiently with a high level of utilization. Schools should not be overcrowded since that stifles learning. By the same token, schools should not be under-utilized since that means space is not being used but still needs to be heated, cleaned, maintained, etc. Under-utilization is a waste of resources that could be better used for LRSD students.
Q. How can I get involved in the Facilities Master Planning Process?
A. Each school will be conducting a meeting with its stakeholder community to provide information on the Facilities Master Planning Process and to gather input on facilities and educational priorities. A series of district-wide community meetings will be held after data, from each school community, has been collected, analyzed and options developed. This will provide community input prior to a plan being presented to the Board of Directors for consideration.
Q. How will my school community benefit from development of LRSD’s Facilities Master Plan?
A. The Facilities Master Plan will identify school needs based on current condition. The identification and implementation of needs may result in the development of more effective learning environments that better accommodate each school’s educational program.
Q. How will current planning efforts be integrated into the planning process?
A. All plans, studies, school specific information, among a myriad of additional information will be reviewed and integrated into the Facilities Master Planning Process.
Q. When will the plan be done?
A. The plan will be finished by the end of April 2014. This will provide time for the Board of Directors to consider the plan before formally adopting it by the end of the school year.
By finishing and adopting the plan by the end of the school year, the District can prepare for its implementation in September when school starts. How the plan will be implemented and what that will require is not known at this time. However, the plan will have action items that need to be implemented. With the students going back to school in September and the community refocused on education, this is a good time to start implementation.
Q. Will athletic facilities be included in the assessment?
A. Yes. The Little Rock School District believes that a well-rounded education has academics at the core. A well-rounded education also includes athletics along with the arts, music, extracurricular activities, etc. as essential parts. Each contributes to a well-rounded education for the students. Therefore, the needs and the state of the athletic facilities at each school will also be evaluated.
Q. How can my voice be heard?
A. The voice of the residents of the Little Rock community can be heard in several ways. First, every month from now until the completion of the plan, an update presentation will be given at the Board Agenda Meeting of every month. The public is invited to attend those meetings or watch the meetings on the local access channel.
The public can access the District website. On the website is a link to the Facilities Master Planning Process or go directly to that portion of the website by accessing http://www.littlerockfacilitiesmasterplan.com/. On the website the public has the option of leaving a message or asking a question about the Facilities Master Planning Process.
As presentations are given and documents prepared, they will be posted to the website so that the Little Rock community will have access. In March, as the needs are defined and potential solutions to address these needs are proposed, the planning team will conduct a community meeting at each school. The date, location, and time of each meeting will be on the website and given to the local media so that citizens have the opportunity to attend and provide input to the process.
Q. Have other school districts followed a similar process? If yes, what are the results?
A. Yes, the planning process has been successful in a number of school districts. Examples include the District of Columbia Public Schools, Providence Public Schools, and Detroit Public Schools. Results have been very positive and have generated renewed interest and involvement in school districts as plans have been implemented. More specifically, school districts are realizing cost savings as efficiency is being created through better use of facilities, stronger working partnerships have been formed between school districts and city government, and broad-based buy-in resulting from an open and participatory planning process.
Q. Who may I contact if I have questions about the Facilities Master Planning Process?
A. Kelsey Bailey at 501-447-1010 or Kelsey.Bailey@lrsd.org