WSD K-6 Plan for Growth
WSD Board of Education Moves Ahead with K-6 Elementary Plan
The Wentzville School District Board of Education (BOE) voted in September, 2015 to move ahead with a plan to build an 11th elementary school partially using funds from reserves, and move all elementary buildings to K-6 for the school year beginning 2017-18.
Following the passing of Proposition E in April, 2015, the BOE sought to address the continued enrollment growth of the District, and held two open work sessions in June and August (2015) to examine year-round schools, cycles and building a school partially from reserves, which would allow the WSD to place 6th graders in elementary schools and relieve overcrowding at the District’s three middle schools. The Board concluded that the K-6 Plan was the best for the District at this time.
“This option would not have been possible without a number of things coming together,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain. “The passing of Proposition E, along with higher assessments and having exceptionally healthy reserves put us in a position where we could increase what we are paying towards our existing debt, thus allowing us to consider this option without having to go back to the voters for an additional tax increase.” The Wentzville School District currently has over $49 million in operating fund reserves which is over 34% of the District’s annual operating budget. “We have the funds available to start a new school and the means to borrow additional funds if necessary to complete the project,” shared CFO Pam Frazier. “Our fiscal responsibility across the District over the years helped to place us in this position where we have options we otherwise may not have had.”
In April 2015, voters in the WSD passed a 25-cent tax increase to fund phase II of Liberty High School, additions at four schools, classroom updates at Wentzville Middle, security upgrades and a new elementary school. The District has purchased 31 acres of land on Highway Z at Perry Cate Boulevard in Wentzville for that elementary school.
A Boundary Committee met throughout 2016 and made a recommendation for new K-6 boundaries, which the Board unanimously approved in December, 2016. Moving sixth graders into all the elementary buildings freed up space the District needed at the middle schools which were over capacity. This plan successfully delayed an immediate return to voters in 2015 to request a tax increase for additional space. The Board of Education has a work session planned for September 12, 2017 to discuss next steps as it relates to accommodating the District's continued growth.
Dr. Cain, along with District administrators and Board of Education members, presented the K-6 Plan for Growth and addressed questions at PTA and PTO meetings across the District in the fall of 2015.
The WSD has been the fastest growing school district in Missouri in the 21st Century. Enrollment has increased by more than 8,000 students since 2001, averaging between 500 and 600 new students every year. The WSD is now the 11th largest school district in the State.