Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


        Citizens, Parents, and Schools working together to bring Avon Grove into the 21st Century!

Committee of the Whole Meeting
January 30, 2018

Facilities Planning Meeting

The School Board met with by Foster Jacobs & Johnson, Inc (FJJ) to discuss facilities planning.  The objective of the meeting was to agree the target number of students for each school and to agree the facilities option that will be further explored at upcoming meetings.  School Board members include: Ms Tracy Lisi (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, Mr Charles Beatty, Mr Jeff Billig, Mr Rick Dumont, Mr Herman Engel, Ms Lynn Weber, Mr Bill Wood, and Ms Bonnie Wolff.

Objective 1: Agreeing what student enrollment numbers and utilization factors should be used to design the facilities.

The board agreed to use the average projection for enrollment for the various buildings plus a 90% or 85% utilization factor.  It should be noted that average enrollment numbers may be useful for sizing buildings, but do not speak to enrollment trends or demonstrate whether they are declining, increasing, or leveling.

Ms Lynn Weber suggested using a 90% utilization factor for the High School since the High School enrollment is projected to decrease over time.
Mr Bill Wood suggested that the board focus on agreeing the student numbers per building and negotiate the utilization factors (used to create flexible building space) later in the process.

The following numbers were agreed:

Penn London Elementary (PLE) School: 971 students + 97 (90% utilization factor) = 1068
Avon Grove Intermediate School: 1535 students + 154 (90% utilization factor) = 1689
Middle School: 839 students + 126 (85% utilization factor) = 965 students
High School: 1751 students + 263 (85% utilization factor) = 2014 students

Mr John Auerbach pushed back on the enrollment projections for the PLE.  He stated that the projections are based on trends that occurred before the start of FDK.  Dr. Marchese agreed that more time is needed before we know how many students will attend PLE in the coming years.

Mr Charles Beatty also questioned the number agreed for PLE.  He was concerned that some students were being double counted.  Since the school district has moved from half day kindergarten (HDK) to full day (FDK), it changed the dynamics of the enrollment.  The demographic study continued to use the same large enrollment jump from HDK to 1st grade despite the introduction of the FDK program. He said that the large jump in students from kindergarten to first grade is not valid since they are now being captured earlier when they enroll in FDK.  This can be seen by the increase in enrollment in FDK in 2017.

Mr. Beatty predicted that due to this flaw in the demographic study the enrollment projection for all the facilities could actually decrease by 700-800 students over the next ten years.  That is a decrease of approximately 15% in enrollment.

Objective 2:  Agreement on Project Options to be further evaluated.

FIG Option 1A
Convert PLES to K-1 grade configuration
Convert AGIS to 2-5 grade configuration
Build new HS on Sunnyside site
Renovate and convert existing HS to 6-8 MS
Abandon/demo/sell existing MS

FIG Option 1C
Convert PLES to K-1 grade configuration
Convert AGIS to 2-5 grade configuration
Build new grade 6-8 MS on Sunnyside site
Renovate existing HS, Build new Core Facilities between HS/MS combine to make a HS

 FIG Option 1D
Convert PLES to K-1 grade configuration
Convert AGIS to 2-5 grade configuration
Renovate and add to existing MS (6-8 grade structure)
Renovate and add to existing HS

Option 4A
Renovate and expand HS to appropriate size (remove modular)
Expand MS (7-8) to remove modular classrooms and build to demographic projection
Expand PLES (K-2) to remove modular classrooms and build to demographic projection
AGIS (3-6) build to demographic projection

The board agreed that these are the 4 options that should be evaluated in upcoming facilities planning meetings.  Mr Rick Dumont clarified that the intent of Option 4A is to focus on renovating the High School first.  Work on the other buildings should be postponed. This proposal is in alignment with the feedback from the listening post workshops which rated High School renovation and maintenance at the top of the priority list.

Mr Auerbach expressed his financial concerns about committing to more than the High School.  He would like to get to the bottom of what it will take to renovate and improve the High School first.  He requested a plan that lays out the classrooms, labs, common space needed for the High School instead of relying on square footage to determine the cost.  Mr Auerbach also asked about the feasibility of adding a second floor to the High School.

The next facilities planning meeting will be February 8th in the High School Library.  The meeting will take a deep dive into the project options. On February 27th, the board will discuss financing for the project.  The March meetings will narrow the discussion to 2 options.  A final decision is planned for April.

Call to Action- It is clear from this meeting that taxes will continue to rise unless the school board steps in and forces the administration to control costs.  It is critical that community members have their voices heard by the school board.  Please consider attending upcoming school board meetings and/or sending letters via e-mail to the school board members. 

*Calendar for upcoming meetings can be found 
*E-mail links to the school board can be found 

Please take a moment to join our mailing list to make sure you receive all future updates as they come out.

Click here to stay up to date. Encourage your fellow community members visit our website and do the same.