EAU CLAIRE – The Eau Claire school board on Monday is slated to discuss several construction projects and potential referendum projects.

Under discussion Monday will be a school district committee’s 2020 recommendation to eventually add onto Manz, Meadowview and Putnam Heights elementary schools; potential high school expansions; and updates to South Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary School.

All have been floated as possible referendum projects. The school board is currently considering a November 2022 referendum; it postponed a 2021 referendum due to the pandemic.

Elementary schools on Eau Claire’s south side have struggled with crowding and high student enrollment for several years, school administrators have told the school board.

Until last year, Manz, Meadowview and Putnam Heights were nearing 100% capacity. In the 2019-20 school year, Manz hit 87% capacity, Putnam Heights was at 91% and Meadowview was at 95%. Eau Claire school administrators have said if schools are above 85% of their capacity, students’ academic achievement and growth could be negatively impacted.

In July 2020, the school district’s Demographic Trends and Facility Planning Committee offered its recommendation to the school board: Add onto Manz, Meadowview and Putnam Heights, to the tune of $15.9 million. The proposed expansion would add 470 student seats.

However, Eau Claire student enrollment dropped by about 445 students in the pandemic enrollment dip last year, Eau Claire schools superintendent Mike Johnson said Friday.

District data indicate that Manz, Putnam Heights and Meadowview are projected to drop to 77%, 88% and 80% capacity in the coming school year, respectively.

The school board on Monday is also expected to discuss exploring expanding North and Memorial High School, renovations at South Middle School and maintenance projects at Roosevelt Elementary School, according to meeting materials.

Also on the school board’s agenda:

  • The board is set to discuss and possibly vote on updates to its work calendar, which dictates what topics the board will discuss at set points throughout the year. School administrators are proposing slight changes to the work calendar, particularly involving a possible November 2022 referendum, according to meeting materials.
  • The board is slated to hear a presentation from Johnson involving the district’s superintendent emergency succession plan.

Contact: 715-833-9206, sarah.seifert@ecpc.com, @sarahaseifert on Twitter

Sarah Seifert is the L-T's education and health reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Chippewa Valley since 2017 and joined the L-T in 2019. Get in touch at sarah.seifert@ecpc.com or on Twitter @sarahaseifert.