HHS, HMS principals spell out space shortagesThe principals of Hudson’s two secondary schools gave the Board of Education some specifics about what the current enrollment at their buildings means for their students. Hudson High School Principal Laura Love told board members that it goes beyond crowded hallways and lunch periods.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
The principals of Hudson’s two secondary schools gave the Board of Education some specifics about what the current enrollment at their buildings means for their students.
Hudson High School Principal Laura Love told board members that it goes beyond crowded hallways and lunch periods. She detailed how class sizes in core subjects like math, science and social studies have risen due in part to enrollment but also because of efforts to keep costs down by not adding additional teachers.
She drew attention to the size of classrooms, the media center and the number of computers available to students. She noted that current computer lab space at HHS is nearly the same as Lodi High School, Love’s former school that had an enrollment of 560 students as compared to the more than 1,650 at HHS. She also drew attention to the inadequate number of science labs, six, which limits the number of labs offered and prevents some classes like advanced placement biology from even being offered.
Love noted other serious space issues for the school’s art and physical education programs. (See PDF chart with this story.)
Hudson Middle School Principal Dan Koch said enrollment at his school this year is 1,290, 165 students over the building’s capacity of 1,125. He said enrollment is expected to exceed 1,300 next year. He said the most important consequence of the school’s overcrowding is the erosion of the “house concept,” that breaks students up into smaller groups or houses at each grade level.
Koch said that the houses are designed for 125 students but will likely exceed 140 students next year. He said classroom space is exhausted and that 14 teachers have no classrooms of their own and must move throughout the school to conduct their classes. This also means that students must leave their assigned houses to take core classes.
He reminded the board that middle school health classes are being conducted in three rooms appropriated from the adjacent Hudson Prairie Elementary School and that the choir and band program both have serious space issues. See chart with this story.
Koch said the size of the school jeopardizes the house organizational concept. “Our success depends on our ability to personalize the education experience of our students. An enrollment of 1,300 is just too many students. Something needs to be done.” Referring to the upcoming referendum to purchase St. Croix Meadows dog track as a secondary school site, he added, “the time is right. We can make a decision that will impact generations of students in this community.”
In a separate report, HMS staff members and students detailed a successful program aimed at improving the reading skills of every student in the school. Each student began the year with a baseline reading score and with a goal for improvement. The program calls for individual student conferences throughout the year to check on the student’s progress. Every teacher and every student in the school is involved.
Referendum information presentation March 27
The Hudson School District will hold its final information presentation about the April 3 referendum on the purchase of the former St. Croix Meadows dog track on Tuesday, March 27, at River Crest Elementary School, 535 County F. Information will be presented by Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten and Board of Education president Barb Van Loenen. The session begins at 7 p.m. and will include time for questions from the public.
UU property annexation
In other business, Dan Bushman, 1303 St. Croix Heights, addressed the board about the issue of annexing the property owned by the school district on County UU as an alternative to the district’s purchase of St. Croix Meadows. He said he had contacted Mayor Alan Burchill and City Development Director Denny Darnold asking for clarification.
In a written response Darnold said the “city’s comprehensive plan does not project extending sanitary sewer to the school property located south of County UU through 2030.” Darnold added said annexation is “that the property is contiguous to the corporate limits…an extension of sewer and water to the school district property on County UU will be, in part, dependent on other properties requesting annexation and being annexed to the city of Hudson.”
Bushman also noted that annexation of property not contiguous to the city is prohibited by state statute.
When asked by the Star-Observer about the possibility of annexing the district’s property on UU Monday night, Burchill said the idea is “theoretically possible but highly unlikely.” He added that any such action would require the approval and cooperation of property owners, St. Croix County and the Town of Hudson.
The school board meeting also included approval of expenditures in the amount of $1,643,487.53 and the retainer of a Milwaukee law firm to represent the district in a class action lawsuit against the Wisconsin Education Association Trust.