CLEARVIEW EXPANSION. Principal Sheri Rutar listened as architect David Leapaldt, center, and St. Cloud Schools Building and Grounds Director Bryan Brown discussed the proposed K-8 expansion at Clearview Elementary School earlier this year. (Photo by David Hannula)

Roosevelt loss shouldn't affect Clearview

Contributing Writer
David Hannula
By David Hannula, 
Staff Writer
While the fire that destroyed the Roosevelt Education Center on June 15 has sent St. Cloud School District administrators scrambling to find new accommodations for early childhood services, St. Cloud Board of Education Chairman Gerald Von Korff said that he does not believe the situation will present problems for the anticipated Clearview Elementary School expansion to K-8 status.
Responding to a question regarding the Clearview project via e-mail, Von Korff wrote: “I don’t see any reason why the Roosevelt tragedy should have any negative impact on the Clearview situation.  Obviously, the administration has spent a ton of time dealing with this problem in the last weeks, and so it has diverted their attention for a time.”
He also said he believed that the district has replacement cost insurance for the building, and he hopes that the replacement will “not result in undue stress on the district financially.”  Building and Grounds Supervisor Bryan Brown also addressed the matter at a school board meeting last week, where he stated that the Roosevelt building was insured with a “base value of $4.2 million”, and that because all district buildings are insured as a whole, insurance will cover the replacement cost, according to an article in the St. Cloud Times.  Equipment replacement costs may not be fully covered, however.
Project History
A 2011 task force considered two options for the district, Von Korff said, which were a one high school plan that would have consolidated Tech and Apollo and left Clearview as a K-6 school, and a two-high school plan that would have Clearview grow to a K-8 facility.  Following extensive debate, the task force members approved the two high school/ Clearview K-8 plan by a vote of 46 to 6 over the one high school proposal.
Superintendent Willie Jett reviewed the task force findings after he came on board last year, Von Korff said, and, after meeting with various interested groups, recommended that the Clearview expansion be moved forward.
A consultant was hired by the district to study the current and projected needs involving K-8 enrollment increases, who said that it would not be responsible for the district to attempt to create a K-8 school using only the financial authority available to the school board without a referendum. The board has asked for preliminary design work that would include as much expansion as can be provided within the board’s own authority under lease/levy provisions, Von Korff said.  The board will also prepare a design for the K-8 expansion that can be taken to district voters if a referendum becomes necessary.
In the past four years, enrollment in the St. Cloud elementary schools has increased by 670 students, with almost all of that coming at the K-8 Kennedy School.  “I believe that is powerful evidence that when you provide a community with a school that the community wants, they reward you with increased enrollment,” Von Korff said.
Roosevelt programs are now meeting at Discovery Community School and Apollo High School, and the district is considering leasing space at Sts. Peter, Paul & Michael School or using classrooms available at the former Kennedy School, Von Korff said.


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