RPS Board approves new measures impacting classrooms - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

RPS Board approves new measures impacting classrooms

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- School board members approved two measures that will leave a large footprint on public kindergarten.

With all-day kindergarten programs expanding throughout the district next fall, board members revisited a plan for school building additions to accommodate students.

"Sharing with the board what we found at looking at two of our current district locations and what it would cost to put some classrooms at those sites," said Superintendent Michael Muñoz.

Board members approved a $7.1 million proposal adding a total of 14 new classrooms at Folwell, Franklin, Gibbs, Lincoln, Pinewood and Washington elementary schools. The renovations also include education spaces and a cafeteria expansion. The project will be funded through lease-purchase Certificates of Participation.

"Each building is a little bit different, as you connect and add to it, it brings different costs to that particular site," added Muñoz.

This plan is $400,000 less than the original draft from October's meeting. That's due to the decision to make two classrooms at Folwell one-story additions, rather than adding one as a second-story classroom.

Folwell will also receive a new parking lot to alleviate lack of spaces and off street parking.

Board members also approved a new program for Gage Elementary, which will be seeing a new dual-language, Spanish and English immersion kindergarten classroom.

"I'm excited to watch it and watch it bloom and grow and continue to work its way through the grade levels," said Jayne Gibson of Rochester Public Schools.

The school was labeled a racially isolated school in 2011-2012 school year and is implementing the program to balance student demographics.

Students from all over the district can partake in the program.

The first forty to register on January 2nd will be placed in the program, all others will be placed on a waiting list. Those signed up for the program have the option to continue the immersion as they move on through the grade levels.

"We have additional opportunities for kids and I think that is really unique to Rochester and I think it's great," said Gibson.

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