Plan A - Plan Adopted by the Board in April 2017
Schools would be structured as follows:
VHHS: 10th - 12th
Berry: 6th - 9th
LP Middle: 6th - 9th
Pizitz: K - 5th
VHEE: K - 5th
VHEW: K - 5th
VHELP: K - 5th
VHECH: K - 5th
Pros (Blue text reflects pros identified during community engagement meeting on 11/7/17)
- It alleviates the overcrowding at VHHS.
- It accommodates projected growth at all schools.
- It provides consistent structure across the district (K-5, 6-9, 10-12).
- Transportation is more convenient for Liberty Park parents of 9th graders than the current 9-12 structure.
- Traffic at the high school would be decreased by moving 9th graders off campus.
- This plan requires the fewest school transitions of the three plans.
- Some 9th grade athletics events could be conducted at Berry.
- 9th graders would have less exposure to some of the behavioral and social pressures that are prevalent among older teenagers.
Cons (Blue text reflects cons identified during community engagement meeting on 11/7/17)
- It will be costly and difficult to provide equitable instructional and extracurricular opportunities across two 9th grade campuses.
- Transportation for 9th graders from Liberty Park and Berry to 9th grade extracurricular activities will be costly and difficult.
- 6th grade students will be on the same campuses as 9th grade students (11 to 15 year-old age span) at both Berry and Liberty Park.
- It will delay the integration of 9th grade students into a unified 9th grade class.
- Pizitz will require modifications to accommodate K-5 programs and has certain special facilities (band and choral) that are not necessary for a K-5 school and would be underutilized.
- Pizitz does not have a playground / field space for elementary students.
- With three K-5 schools being on Highway 31, traffic would be more congested than if one of the elementary schools was at Gresham.
- The Gresham Elementary campus would be unused if the Board adopted this plan and still purchased Gresham.
- An addition to accommodate 9th graders would be required at Berry and at Liberty Park.
- Compared to the other two options, Plan A is the most expensive in terms of estimated staffing, operating costs, and construction.
- Parking during the school day may become more difficult at the two middle schools due to the presence of an additional grade.
- Liberty Park 9th graders may be required to travel more for practice and games.
- There would be a disparity in travel time/effort for families of students at Berry and families of students at Liberty Park.
Q: How would 6th through 9th graders be separated at Berry?
9th graders would spend most of their day in classes in a new addition built to accommodate the 9th grade.
Q: How would Gresham be utilized with this plan?
It would not be immediately utilized.
Q: How would we integrate 9th graders into sports and other extracurricular activities?
Students involved in extracurricular activities that occur at the high school would be transported at the end of the school day to the high school.
Q: How would we address advanced courses through this plan?
Scheduling and/or additional personnel would be used to ensure that 9th graders continue to have all advanced opportunities they currently have.
Q: Would 9th graders associate with the identity of the high school or of the middle schools they are being added to? Would there be an effort to keep the Rebel identity for 9th graders?
This topic will be addressed if this option is chosen.
Q: Would Liberty Park Middle and Pizitz offer transportation for after-school activities?
Yes, when necessary. Transportation would be provided from both schools to the high school for extracurricular activities.
Q: Is there adequate space at Liberty Park Middle for the 9th grade?
No. An addition and interior renovations would be required at Liberty Park to accommodate the addition of 9th graders.
Q: Would this plan require rezoning of elementary attendance areas?
Yes. All three options will require rezoning of elementary attendance areas. Once the Board has reached a decision in December regarding the structure of schools, rezoning discussions will begin. As that process proceeds, there would be opportunities for public engagement with a decision anticipated in spring 2018. Any rezoning plan that is adopted by the Board would not take effect until the opening of school in the fall of 2019. While it is understandable that personal preferences for attendance zones are important to individuals, they cannot be the determining factor for school restructuring options that affect all students.
Q: Are any students west of Highway 280 zoned for Liberty Park Middle School?
Yes. Currently, some neighborhoods near the west side of Highway 280 attend Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights and Liberty Park Middle School.
Q: Are there plans for sidewalks or a tunnel to Berry?
No. According to Hoar Program Management, there are no plans to add sidewalks or tunnels to the Berry campus at this time.
Q: What would happen to Vestavia Hills Elementary Central?
Central is currently not part of the plan for housing K-5 students but could be utilized in the future for other school system programs and needs.
Q: Could the Civic Center be used for Vestavia Hills Elementary West?
This is a question the school system and city may explore after the school restructuring decision has been made.
Q: What would be the names of the various new campuses being operated by the school system?
Once the Board has made its decision on school restructuring in December, it will take up the issue of naming at some point in the future.
Q: What are the relative costs of each of the three options?
The current Board-approved plan is the most expensive in terms of estimated staffing, operating costs, and construction; Option S is approximately $2 million less expensive than the current Board-approved plan; Option 9 is approximately $7 million less expensive than the current Board-approved plan; this is primarily because 9th grade additions would not be required at Berry and Liberty Park Middle.
Q: Would the purchase of Gresham continue if Plan A were to remain in effect?
Q: What are the athletic facilities at Gresham?
Gresham has a large gym, a football-sized field, and a baseball diamond.
Q: Given the space at Gresham, could it be used as a centralized location for 9th grade athletics?
The athletic department at Vestavia Hills High School would make that determination based on the best use and availability of each school’s facilities.
Q: When looking at additions at Liberty Park Middle School, was consideration given to the 6th/9th grade separation?
Yes. If Plan A is adopted, physical separation of the grades would enter into the school system’s planning discussions.
Q: Which plan/option has the most longevity in terms of enrollment/growth?
All three plans account for forecasted growth in enrollment over the next ten years.
Q: Would all K-5 elementary schools and 6-9 middle schools be similarly sized?
Q: How would special-needs children be insulated from potential changes to their school and/or staff?
All three plans will require restructuring of schools; however, the district will maintain its commitment to meeting the individual needs of all exceptional education students throughout any transition that occurs.