St. Paul Public Schools could recast elementary schools and potentially pare their number as it strives to give children equal access to what it describes as a “well-rounded education.”
That means providing opportunities in science and the arts in every building, as well as preschool, across the state’s second-largest district.
The planning, part of an ongoing project dubbed Envision SPPS, takes into account the district’s enrollment woes — making as-yet unspecified closings and mergers possible for schools deemed “unsustainable.”
“We do not need all of our elementary buildings,” Jackie Turner, the district’s chief operations officer, said.
The changes, if adopted by the school board later this year, would be phased in beginning in the 2022-23 school year and aided by a boost in federal funding. The district is using part of its $207 million in American Rescue Plan money to hire about 150 teachers, spokesman Kevin Burns said.
Information presented to the school board Tuesday cites a challenge facing not just St. Paul but also districts across the country: new births are on the decline, spelling trouble for school systems like St. Paul’s that focus on attracting kindergartners in competitive school-choice environments.