Summary of February Community Input Meetings

  • Summary of February Community Input Meetings

    The Brighton Central School District held its third set of Brookside Redevelopment Project Community Input Meetings on February 29, 2016. Approximately 90 community members participated in the afternoon and evening sessions. 

    Superintendent Dr. Kevin McGowan started the presentation by explaining how the District got to this point. Brighton studied the student learning implications, design necessities, and cost considerations of full-day kindergarten during the 2013-14 school year. The Board of Education then authorized the superintendent to develop an implementation plan for full-day kindergarten considering the parameters that were recommended by the respective committees:  Avoid redistricting and creating two primary schools; avoid a fourth building transition for students; and maintain current grade configurations (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). 

    During the 2014-15 school year, an “Apples to Apples” feasibility study was completed, comparing expanding and renovating Brookside versus expanding and redesigning Council Rock. Brookside was recommended as the site primarily because of the site size constraints at Council Rock. During the 2015-16 school year, the Board began pre-referendum work on the Brookside Redevelopment Project. Throughout the year, the District has been meeting with different stakeholder groups to get feedback on the project.

    Dr. McGowan also explained what the next steps are in the process. In early March, the Building Condition Survey will be completed and the District will revisit Facility Master Planning for grade levels 3-12. These projects are of a smaller magnitude than Brookside and more work will need to be done to prioritize scope and cost. In mid-March, the Board of Education will review all materials and feedback and discuss a potential resolution authorizing a referendum. The Board’s options are to do nothing, authorize a vote on the Brookside project or explore other possibilities based on community feedback.

    The superintendent addressed some frequently asked questions regarding the project and explained how the project would benefit students:

    • Council Rock is currently very congested and spaces intended for specific programs have been repurposed for classroom space
    • The current configuration limits the ability of teachers to work with small groups, for students to work together, and for classrooms to partner
    • The library space is not sufficient and limits opportunities for student engagement in this important program
    • Large motor instructional spaces and extended studies spaces are not sufficient
    • Pull out services are not being provided in spaces specially designed for this type of instruction
    • Redevelopment would allow for a building design that solves these problems

    Dr. McGowan also outlined some key points:

    • Community input is essential. No decisions have been made. The District needs to know how the community feels and will only pursue projects that the community is interested in.
    • The program is already excellent. Brighton has never meant to imply that children are receiving a substandard experience. The District is committed to looking for opportunities to continuously build upon its success.
    • This is very costly. The District is aware of this and wishes it was less expensive. Brighton is committed to exploring all options for reducing cost as much as possible while maintaining value.
    • Brighton hasn’t forgotten about the rest of the District. Brighton will continue its Facility Master Planning projects to continue making improvements that will benefit all levels of the District.

    The District and its architects and engineers answered questions from community members for the majority of the meetings. The major themes discussed by community members included: Cost of the proposed project, impact to the neighborhood and traffic, desire to look at less costly options, instructional need for full-day kindergarten, and desire to meet K-12 facility needs. 

    The community also took a short survey. 

    Click here to view the presentation from the February community input meetings.