Teton County School District No. 1 has posted an online survey in order to gather community input on plans for a new elementary school and on how to solve the district’s capacity issues.
The online poll, which will be open till Jan. 11, can be found at SurveyMonkey.com/r/2FGMC7K.
Unlike the one the district conducted in October, this survey provides more details about the three decisions school district trustees will have to make at their Jan. 13 meeting, including the district’s grade configuration, dual immersion programs and capacity issues.
“The first survey was more of a conceptual survey,” Superintendent Gillian Chapman said. “This survey is much more specific and has a lot more detailed information.”
Two of the decisions will affect the design of the new 584-student elementary school that will be located in the Hog Island area south of town.
“We are in the design process for the new elementary school, and grade configuration will impact the design,” Chapman said.
The survey asks if people would prefer that all elementary schools in the district seat students in grades kindergarten through fifth or kindergarten through sixth.
It explains that if trustees go with a kindergarten through fifth-grade configuration, then the middle school will need an add-on.
The survey also asks if people would like Colter Elementary to be a dedicated dual immersion school, where students will spend equal amounts of time in classes that are taught in English and Spanish.
It notes that the demographic of students who live close to where the new school will be built does not support the possibility of the school being dual immersion. According to neighborhood demographics Chief Operating Officer Brad Barker collected, only 17 percent of the student population that lives south of High School Road is Latino.
Trustee Keith Gingery, however, thinks the district shouldn’t limit the possibility of designing the new school to be dedicated to educating dual immersion students.
“The survey says it is not a choice, but it may be a choice trustees go with,” he said.
The survey also asks people how the district should solve its capacity issues. The district expects to need 900 more seats for students by 2025, which means building a 584-student school will solve only part of the problem.
Trustees’ preference on how to solve the capacity issues will be presented to the state’s School Facilities Committee in March.
Trustees will have to decide if they want to build a second new elementary school. They can also choose to build additions to Colter Elementary and Wilson Elementary or to Wilson Elementary and Jackson Hole Middle School.
Chairwoman Patricia Russell feels the survey won’t provide answers for trustees, but it’s a good way to reach out to the community.
“Do I believe that the survey is the answer?” Russell said. “I absolutely don’t. I do believe we should do our best to start communicating more. We are headed in that direction with this survey and the public workshop.”
Chapman has scheduled another public meeting that will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 at the district office at 1235 Gregory Lane.
She hopes to present to trustees the results of the new survey at the meeting.