Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools provides a high-quality education for students in grades E-12. Our district is known for its E-STEM curriculum, which stands for Environmental Education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

FAQ

This page will be dedicated to addressing questions and rumors as the facilities planning process continues throughout the school year. Please check back often for updates.

If you have any questions, please submit an email to .

Is open enrollment the main reason for the district's growth?

No. New housing developments in Prior Lake and Savage, combined with families moving into existing homes within our boundaries, can be attributed to our largest increases in student enrollment growth. According to a demographic report conducted in December 2016, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools can expect at least 850 resident students over the next five years.

Open enrollment trends have changed drastically over the past 10 years. From 2007-08 through the 2014-15 school year, PLSAS had a net loss in open enrollment. This means more resident students chose to attend other school districts than students from other districts choosing PLSAS through the open enrollment option (historical open enrollment). Since 2014-15 we have seen two important trends:

1. More resident students are choosing to stay and attend PLSAS. For example, this school year, 717 resident students chose to enroll elsewhere, which is different from the previous three-year trend of approximately 850 resident students choosing to enroll in other districts.

2. We have experienced a slight net gain in open enrollment. Currently this year we have 1,023 students open enrolling into the district and 717 resident students leaving our district for a net gain of 306 open enrolled students or 3.6% of K-12 open enrolled students.

What must be considered when opening or closing open enrollment?

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools (PLSAS) has a legal obligation to offer open enrollment where space is available and it continues to be something we monitor very closely.

To help ease overcrowding in our schools, PLSAS has limited open enrollment to 1% for grades K-12 for the remainder of 2016-17 through the 2017-18 school year.

When deciding to close open enrollment, administration must weigh several factors, as outlined below:

With Open Enrollment (OE), We Have:Without Open Enrollment (OE)
The ability to balance class sizes among the neighborhood schools.Because the district has neighborhood schools, class sizes will vary from school to school. If open enrollment is closed over a prolonged time period, elementary attendance boundary changes may be needed to balance K-5 enrollment.
Staff schools and programs efficientlyWe are not able to control where students move into our district, but we can control enrollment growth and balance class sizes through the open enrollment option. For example, if one particular school has a grade level that is lower in enrollment, we can place open enrolled students at that site to create class size balance across the grade level and staff accordingly.
Financial balance. Current funding from the State of MN is not enough to maintain or add programming. Additional revenue from open enrollment helps the district maintain a fund balance. The district receives the same funding dollars for resident and open enrolled students. The additional revenue received due to increased student population (resident and/or open enrolled) helps to maintain and add programming.PLSAS currently loses 717 K-12 students to open enrollment and has 1,023 students who open enroll into the district. Open enrollment provides a financial balance to offset the resident students who leave the district each year. A stagnant student population and stagnant operating funding from the state will not support our current level of programming.


What is the district's relationship with Nexus Solutions?

Over the past several months, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools (PLSAS) has received questions from some in our community regarding the work we have done with our business partner, Nexus Solutions, as we address the district’s facilities needs during these times of rapid enrollment growth. We have answered all questions openly and honestly. We are committed to being fiscally responsible and transparent in all that we do. That’s why we have developed the following key points and detailed fact sheet for the community.

Key points to note:
● Nexus has helped the district with complex facilities challenges due to enrollment growth, during a time of recession, while minimizing the cost to taxpayers.
● By working with Nexus, the district was able to complete projects with no increase in the school district levy.
● PLSAS underwent a thorough process prior to selecting Nexus that included a
competitive selection process, a contract review that was conducted by our attorney and a community forum.

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools' Agreements with Nexus Solutions

Meeting Date Timeline:
  • Facility Committee 11/10/11 In-house Facilities Review
  • Facility Committee 5/17/12 Vendor Presentations
  • Board Study Session 6/25/12 Board presented with Nexus Solutions
  • ProposalBoard Meeting 7/16/12 Board approval of Nexus Solutions Facility Consultant Proposal
  • Facility Committee 9/17/12 Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan Presented
  • Facility Committee 10/15/12 Financial Solution to address Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Board Study Session 10/22/12 Financial Solution to address Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Facility Meeting 10/24/12 Line-by-line review of Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Board Meeting 11/5/12 Nexus Solutions presents Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Community Forum 11/19/12 Presentation of Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Board Study Session 12/3/12 Review and discuss authorization of Comprehensive Facility Improvement Plan
  • Board Meeting 12/10/12 School Board Authorizes Long Term Facility Plan

Why did the Facilities Task Force recommendation include 3 new gyms at PLHS?

When the Task Force met last December, they took a look at classroom needs across all curricular disciplines, including gyms for physical education classes at the high school. Our physical education classes are the most popular electives at PLHS for students and currently we do not have enough gym space to meet the demand. Our gyms are used consistently throughout the day for required and elective PE classes.

Here is a link from the Task Force’s Data Book that contains more specific PE utilization information at PLHS: http://www.priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us/uploaded/Facilities_Planning/Data_Book/Current_PE_Enrollment_at_PLHS.pdf

The Task Force also studied gym space comparisons in other metro school districts. http://www.priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us/uploaded/Facilities_Planning/Data_Book/Metro_Gym_Comparisons.pdf

Facilities Task Force Q&A (3/20/17)

What are the cost differences - including operational costs - between the options?

  • Centralized Option = $46-51M and includes bond & land only
  • Neighborhood Options = $49-54M and includes bond and land only
    • The main cost difference in the elementary options is associated with adding 4-year-old pre-k classroom space in our elementary schools.
  • Current Schools W/Additions = $79-87M and includes bond only.
  • 2 High Schools W/Middle School Additions = $128-141M and includes bond and land only.
    • The main cost difference associated with the secondary options is the cost to build a second high school, including the land.
  • Comprehensive Campus = $223-246M and includes bond and land only
    • This option would be a 12-15 year space solution.
The district’s current operating levy expires in 2018. Depending on which options move forward, the board will determine whether to rescind and replace the existing levy or rescind and increase the levy.

Does the Comprehensive Campus option require less remodeling of other buildings?

The Comprehensive Campus option would require renovating both middle schools and a future addition to the existing PLHS. Some renovations may be needed in existing elementary buildings.

Does the Comprehensive Campus option allow the district to close old buildings?

Under this option, the district could potentially sell the District Services Center. The district could also end our lease at Bridges Area Learning Center and potentially end our lease at the MN Center for Advanced Professional Studies (MNCAPS)

How and who will select the options?

The Task Force will review community input and provide consultation to the Design Team to refine the options. After a second round of input, the Design Team will further refine the options and then present options to the school board, the choice makers, on April 24 for consideration. The School Board is scheduled to take action in May on which facilities option to pursue.

Pre-K – are they all full day? Can you provide numbers and details to us?

We offer half-day and full-day 4-year-old Pre-K classes Click here for more information Pre-K enrollment projections are listed in the 10-year enrollment projections (listed at the bottom of the following graph).

10-Year Enrollment Projections.jpg
-Click Photo to Enlarge-

Do PreK students get lunch provided in the program?

Our full-day program for 4-year-olds is located at Grainwood Elementary and Jeffers Pond Elementary and includes breakfast and lunch.

How many computer labs are in each elementary school?

There are two computer labs per elementary school.

If the district closes open enrollment to 1%, is there a revenue decrease? If so, how much and for how long? Is it compounded annually?

Open enrollment provides a financial balance to offset the resident students who leave the district each year. A stagnant student population and stagnant operating funding from the state will not support our current level of programming.

Impact of Open Enrollment on District Fincances
-Click Image to Enlarge-

Elementary Neighborhood Schools option-- can you show us what the combined enrollment would be for Edgewood and WestWood?

The 2017/18 capacity projections for WestWood and Edgewood are as follows:

  • WestWood PreK-5 = 657
  • Edgewood (does not include La ola del lago, does include SAGE) = 184
Total = 841

Is it fair to assume that with all the options that co-curriculars will be located in age-appropriate schools?

  • It is our always our intent to offer co-curriculars in age-appropriate spaces and we will continue to do so moving forward. There may be circumstances where this cannot occur and we communicate this information with the students and families involved.
  • Based on input from the Task Force, the options allow for gymnastics to move from Twin Oaks Middle School to Prior Lake High School. Co-Curricular spaces at the middle schools would then be adequate, if PLHS co-curricular space is expanded.

Can you show what class sizes will be until the new school or schools are built?

  • Current class sizes per school and per grade level are listed in the Data Book (as of Oct. 2016). Class sizes will continue to increase until we are able to add capacity to our buildings. Click: Data Book online
  • An operating referendum to open a new school will also be central to maintaining class sizes. Any new or potential operating referendum is unknown at this time (3-20-17)

Will there be “21st Century” flexible learning spaces in middle schools and not just “cells and bells”?

These would be design decisions that would have to be made once the board has chosen an option and calls for a referendum. Our intention would be to implement 21st century learning spaces, or personalized learning, as best practice to optimize learning environments for students.

For Bridges Area Learning Center, what are student and parent preferences regarding location/setting? Do they want be on high school property?

While we have not formally surveyed Bridges Area Learning Center (ALC) parents and students regarding this question, we know that best practice points to a school setting where students can experience small class sizes and flexible school schedules in a non-traditional high school setting.

Would you provide capacity numbers for proposed auditorium spaces?

  • Auditorium seating at Twin Oaks would go from 299 to approx. 416.
  • The proposed balcony at Prior Lake High School would add 200 seats.
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