Survey results to be discussed this week at special Lindbergh board meeting

Board eyes options to ease space concerns at Sperreng Middle School

By MIKE ANTHONY

The results of a recent telephone survey of Lindbergh School District voters were scheduled to be discussed this week during a special Board of Education meeting.

The Board of Education was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, in the boardroom of the Administration Building, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

In late May, board members agreed to solicit community input through a telephone survey on three options to provide long-term solutions to ease overcrowding at Sperreng Middle School. The three options are:

• Option A — Retaining Sperreng as a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, converting Truman Elementary to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, ad-ding onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools, converting Concord School to an elementary school and either constructing or buying a new building to relocate the district’s early childhood education, or ECE, program from Concord School. The estimated cost, including projects identified as critical by officials and proposed security projects, is nearly $31 million.

• Option B — Converting Sperreng and Truman Elementary School to fifth- through eighth-grade middle schools, adding onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools, converting Concord School to an elementary school and either constructing or buying a new building to relocate the ECE program from Concord School. The estimated cost, including projects identified as critical by officials and proposed security projects, is $27.3 million.

• Option A-1 — Retaining Sperreng as a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, converting Truman Elementary to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, adding onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools and building a new elementary school. The estimated cost, including projects identified as critical by officials and proposed security projects, is $44.3 million.

The board voted last month to authorize the administration to contract with Patron Insight of Stilwell, Kan., for the development, administration and analysis of the survey at a cost not to exceed $14,300.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in October to establish a Demographic Task Force comprised of parents, residents and staff members to recommend long-term options to address space concerns at Sperreng, which has an enrollment of 1,321 pupils while the ideal size for a middle school serving grades six through eight is 600 to 800 pupils.

The 53-member Demographic Task Force formulated six options, which board members later whittled down to three choices, including Option A and Option B.

Besides Option A and Option B, administrators on May 27 proposed Option A-1, an option recommended by the task force, but initially rejected by the board primarily because the projected cost would exceed the district’s ability to put a no-tax-rate-increase bond issue on the ballot. The district’s current bonding capacity is $31 million.

Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call Friday that Ken DeSieghardt of Patron Insight would have a final report on the survey results completed in time for this week’s meeting and make a presentation to the board.

“… It’s a very detailed survey, too, which I’m happy about,” he said. “Detailed meaning it’s not just: Would you support an option for Sperreng overcrowding? It’s a lot of ancillary kinds of things — demographic information, whether you have kids, what do you think of the administration …

“It’s a lot of ancillary things that sort of give it just in themselves some interesting flavor so you can get some data out of there, and it’s a scientific survey, meaning that it’s been engineered by experts to have plus or minus 5-percent reliability factor …”

The board has until Aug. 26 to place a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot and Simpson said he anticipates the board will decide what course to take when it meets Aug. 19.