(this release was submitted by the Oshkosh Area School District)
Oshkosh, WI – The Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education approved a resolution to close Smith Elementary School as of the end of the 2018-2019 school year and transfer students from Smith Elementary School’s attendance zone to Jefferson Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year. This Board decision was made during a Special Board Meeting on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.
In May 2019 the District announced its recommendation to close Smith Elementary School after learning of extensive and impending building and capital maintenance needs, which required immediate action. While the capital maintenance needs of the building were previously known and being proactively managed and addressed, the expedited timeline was unforeseen.
Committed to acting in the best interest of students, families, and staff (as well as the future of the entire District), District leaders felt it was critical to present the information and move towards a solution as quickly as possible. A comprehensive Board Workshop took place on May 22, 2019 to present the information and possible options to the Board of Education. The June 5 Special Board Meeting was scheduled to allow the Board time to review the information prior to making a decision and to provide a final decision to the community prior to the beginning of summer.
The decision to close Smith Elementary School was not made lightly. After an extensive review of the situation, specifically the current state of the school building, impending capital maintenance needs, enrollment trends, and ongoing facilities planning, District leaders focused on doing what is best for students and the long-term success of the District.
The District is confident that combining Smith and Jefferson elementary schools will provide numerous benefits and opportunities for students. Both schools have an excellent tradition of providing high-quality education to all students; this same quality of education will be evident in the new school community that emerges. A comprehensive transition plan will be launched beginning June 6, 2019, and regular communication and updates will be shared with the impacted school communities.
Evaluating District facilities and planning for the future have been identified as needs within the OASD and have been included in the District’s strategic plan. In fact, the OASD partnered with Bray Associates Architects to conduct an extensive analysis of the District’s facilities.
The first phase of this process (the study) was completed in 2017, and the complete Facility Condition Assessment / Facilities Study and Budget are available on the OASD Maintenance Department’s webpage. The study was first shared with the Board on August 17, 2017, and again reviewed on October 10, 2018 and March 6, 2019.
The purpose of the study was to create an assessment of existing conditions that can be used to guide strategic decisions related to the future of the District. The process is ongoing and District leaders are in the early stages of creating a long-term facilities plan.
About the OASD: Building community through education. The Oshkosh Area School District is located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, serving 10,000 students and operating 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools, two charter schools and an eAcademy.
The mission of the Oshkosh Area School District is to create citizens who are critical, creative thinkers, responsible in their actions, and committed to learning for life by working together with families and communities. For more information visit www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us.