The Facilities Committee of the Exeter Regional Cooperative School District (ERCSD) School Board discussed a number of solutions to solve the programming and space needs of the Cooperative Middle School. We found that each option has drawbacks and, in many cases, creates even more serious issues. We did not take this decision lightly. After careful consideration, we believe the expansion and renovation of the current CMS building best supports the needs of students and the greater community.
Expansion & Renovation of Current CMS Building
- High cost to taxpayers
- Will take several years to accomplish
- Must minimize disruption to learning during school year construction
Move 6th Grade Students Back to Individual Town Elementary Schools
- This would constitute dissolution of the Coop School District and would have both legal and financial ramifications in terms of obligations for Exeter High School.
- There is no room at both the Stratham and Exeter Elementary Schools for the 6th graders and numbers show an increase in the coming year at Swasey Elementary School in Brentwood because of full-day Kindergarten enrollment.
- Students in Grade 6 would not receive the educational opportunities that they would have on the CMS campus in terms of foreign language, leveled and advanced math, art, music and other electives.
- The “middle school” concept would be lost as well as the academic and social advantages that are a successful part of that model.
Move 6th Grade Students to Tuck Building
- This would require extensive renovations, which would have significant financial implications.
- Staffing both the Tuck Center and CMS would create both programming and financial concerns in terms of duplication of services for students (i.e. foreign language, music, art, PE, nursing, administrative staff, etc.)
- It may necessitate moving the Adult Ed and / or Charter School from the Tuck Campus
- It would create another transition for 6th grade students (i.e. going from their elementary schools to the Tuck Campus to CMS and then to the High School)
- This would have a negative impact on students in terms of programming and educational / extra curricular activities that are now available to them at CMS
- Will make transportation/bus schedule more challenging and expensive
Move 8th Grade Students to Exeter High School
- This will create a need to hire additional staff to provide elective courses to 8th Grade students at EHS, as well as other support services (nursing, guidance, administration, etc.) This would not be a one-time expense but one that would need to be included in all future budgets.
- This would create space issues for the high school and cause possible future problems if the student population continues to grow at EHS.
- 8th graders would have to be bussed back and forth after school for athletic events.
- There are social ramifications to having 8th grade and high school students in the same building.
Set Up Portable Classrooms on CMS Campus
- The cost factor for purchasing portable classrooms would outweigh the renovation options.
- There is limited space on the CMS site to adequately house portables.
- There would be issues dealing with bathroom facilities, heating and electricity.
- This option does not address or resolve the issues relative to the gym and the cafeteria.
- Students would be segregated from the rest of the student population.
Build a New School for 6th Grade Students
- The cost would be virtually the same as an addition / renovation at the current site.
- There would be no land on which to build because there is no room at the current campus.
- Staffing issues regarding duplication of services would remain the same.
- Create another transition for children.
Do Away with the Concept of ‘Pods’/Reassign Classroom Space
- This does not address the gym and cafeteria issues.
- Would not solve programming needs – special education, leveled math, etc.
- Does not address shortage of office space
- This would remove the positive transition that 6th grade students now have in coming from small elementary schools to a middle school of 1300 students. The pod system creates a “school within a school” and allows students a chance to better transition as well as having the attention of the same teachers working in teams.
Tuition for 6th Grade Students Out of District
- This idea is unacceptable, not only in terms of the financial consideration but, more importantly, in terms of the social and academic ramifications for our students to be removed from their home communities.