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West Bend-Mallard School Board Makes Decision Regarding Future Of Mallard School Building

February 27, 2014
by Kate Myers , Emmetsburg News

WEST BEND -- The future of the Mallard facility was discussed during the regular West Bend-Mallard school board meeting on Monday, Feb. 24 in West Bend. During her comments, West Bend-Mallard School Superintendent Amanda Schmidt presented four options for consideration. Two public hearings were held in January for the community to share their thoughts.

Option One was to leave everything as is. The district's preschool and Pre-K program is currently housed at the West Bend building, while Kindergarten through fourth grade is in Mallard.

The second option presented was to close the Mallard building at the end of the current school year. While the kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms would move to the West Bend building, the gym in Mallard would be maintained for middle school volleyball practices and games. "With this option, we would have a lot to do in a short time," said Schmidt.

Option Three proposed closing the Mallard building at the end of the school year 2015 and all students would attend school at the West Bend location beginning in school year 2015-2016. This option also included keeping the Mallard gym available for use. Schmidt said option 3 would allow time to update spaces as well as plan for the teardown on the Mallard building.

The fourth option proposed closing the Mallard building when a number of parameters are met. "This option focuses on enrollment and financial stability," said Schmidt. The parameters include when the number of students served drops to 300, when elementary classes drop consistently below 20 students, when the district's unspent balance falls $100,000 in one year, when the unspent balance falls to $300,000 - $400,000, when open enrollment out becomes more than open enrollment in, when Mallard building upkeep expenses rise drastically and when the district's expenses are more than district revenues.

Schmidt's recommendation to the board was to proceed with Option Four. "This options focuses on community involvement, allows us to monitor enrollment and finances and allows time for building updates in West Bend," Schmidt says. Schmidt also told the board that in addition to a DNR program, there is legislation at the state house that may assist school districts with the expenses of demolishing buildings no longer in use.

After considerable discussion, board member John Zaugg made the motion to close the Mallard building when one or more of the parameters are met: certified enrollment drops to 320 students, the elementary class sizes average 20, the unspent balance drops by $100,000 in one year, the unspent balance falls to $450,000, open enrollment out becomes more than in, the Mallard building upkeep expenses rise drastically or the district expenses, on a cash basis, are more than the district's revenues. All of the board members voted in favor of the motion.



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