Community Survey Shows Support for Our Schools

The results of a scientific, random-sample phone survey of district residents was shared at the March 18 School Board meeting. A few highlights: 91% believe the quality of education provided by Eastern Carver County Schools is excellent or good. This is in line with similar high ratings our district has received over the last several years. Our parents rate the district even higher – with 98% giving us a rating of excellent or good. The “most-liked” parts of our school district are: good teachers, variety of programs and excellent academics. While the highest rated “most serious issue” facing the district was “nothing,” large class sizes were viewed as most serious by 16% of respondents. The majority feel class sizes are about right at elementary and high school, but believe they should be lower at middle school. 87% believe our technology opportunities for students are excellent or good. While only 35% have been following the facilities planning discussions taking place in the... Continue reading Community Survey Shows Support for Our Schools

Growing Pains — and Opportunities

A message from the Superintendent Eastern Carver County Schools have been – and will continue to be – growing. We are honored that so many families choose our schools and want to live in our district. We also want to be sure we have appropriate spaces, ample staff and enough resources to provide the educational experience each student needs and deserves. Last fall, a Facilities Task Force was formed to provide recommendations to maintain learning spaces for years to come while serving a student population that is projected to continue growing. After several meetings – and building on work done earlier with the help of facilities experts and demographers – the Task Force made three recommendations: New elementary school: With 1,400 more students expected in the next five years – and two-thirds of them at the elementary level – we simply need more space. We have been deliberate and conservative in our building plans over the last several years, but... Continue reading Growing Pains — and Opportunities

Enrollment Growth and Funding Needs

Eastern Carver County Schools have been – and will continue to be – growing. We are honored that so many families choose our schools and want to live in our district. We also want to be sure we have appropriate spaces, ample staff and enough resources to provide the educational experience each student needs and deserves. In fall 2018, a Facilities Task Force was formed to provide recommendations that will preserve and maintain learning spaces for years to come and serve a student population that is projected to continue growing. After several meetings, the task force recommended a $110.5M bond referendum for a new elementary school ($35.5 million), deferred maintenance ($61.5 million), and a new, expanded bus garage ($13.5 million). In addition, district leaders are looking at funding needs. The district, like most Minnesota school districts, is facing increasing pressure on our operating budget. E. Carver Co. Schools also has a Security and Technology Levy that provides... Continue reading Enrollment Growth and Funding Needs

District reviews operating budget and funding gaps

Like most Minnesota school districts, E. Carver Co. Schools is facing increasing pressure on the district’s operating budget. The district relies on state and local funding to operate its schools – to pay staff, buy classroom materials, fund academic programs, and more. For the past 15 years, state funding has not kept pace with inflation. This has resulted in a nearly $620 per student gap this year, totaling more than $6 million in lost funding this year alone and more than $60 million over the last 10 years. Expenses are outpacing revenue and the district is not fully reimbursed for the important special education services we provide. This is the time of year when the district reviews its academic program and staffing needs. It is also waiting to learn what funding the district will receive from the State of Minnesota. The legislature’s decision on public funding will help the district know how big of a budget gap we need to fill moving forward. One way to fill this funding gap is... Continue reading District reviews operating budget and funding gaps

Enrollment Growth Continues

A message from the Superintendent The first commencement for students of Chaska Public School was in 1899 for four graduates. Last May, we graduated 745 students. Enrollment for grades K-12 exceeds 9,600. The last 30 years have been the most significant time of growth. We had five K-12 school buildings in 1988. Now we have 14, plus one for early childhood program and one with a transition program for students ages 17-21. Student enrollment tripled in that same time. What may be most surprising is that about half of the land in Eastern Carver County Schools is undeveloped. Housing growth may ebb and flow, but the long-term enrollment trajectory should remain upward. While our schools, teachers and principals handle the day-to-day business of delivering exceptional, personalized learning, district administration is looking at future planning. The key metrics we track are student enrollment and school capacity. If you ask a principal what the “perfect” size is for their school, you will... Continue reading Enrollment Growth Continues

With enrollment growing 1,400 students in 5 years, task force recommends new school

District also needs $62 million in deferred maintenance to sustain older schools After four months of study, the district’s Facility Task Force presented recommendations to the School Board on matters related to deferred maintenance and enrollment growth at two meetings in January. The first recommendation was that the district needs an updated bus garage. The current garage can hold 50 buses and the district currently operates more than 100 buses. The garage needs additional mechanical bays, wash bays, and more land for parking and space. The second part of the recommendation focused on enrollment growth and deferred maintenance (long-term building and facility maintenance). DeeDee Kahring, director of finance and operations, who also led the task force, began by discussing an updated demographic study. That study, completed by Davis Demographics in January 2019, shows an overall enrollment increase of 1,400 students in five years, with approximately 875 of those students in the... Continue reading With enrollment growing 1,400 students in 5 years, task force recommends new school