Assignment: Education – Blair-Taylor Referendum

School Boards asks voters to consolidate campuses

Ms. Kari Lejcher teaches kindergarten at Blair-Taylor Elementary. At first glance, her classroom looks like a typical kindergarten class. But looks can be deceiving.

“I have a wall that leaks,” said Lejcher. “I can feel cold air coming into my classroom. I’ve had days where my carpet is wet when I come into my room.”

Ms. Lejcher’s room is along the West side of the building which is constructed of a two inch think curtain wall. The wall is one of nine remodels and additions completed on the building which was originally built in 1926 as a high school.

“Personally, I don’t favor putting money into a band-aid approach into a building that will not carry us 40-50 years from now,” said Dennis Dervetski, Blair-Taylor superintendent. “And I don’t think this building will.”

A facilities study was conducted on the district’s two school buildings in May 2011. The study showed it would cost $10 million to remodel the current elementary school. Or the community could spend $16.985 million and move to a united campus. The school board decided to ask voters to consolidate campuses.


“Based on some of the needs down here, efficiency, security and so on… the board decided it was time to move,” said Dervetski. “Along with interest rates and monies being very favorable to us right now.”

The move would involve renovating the current middle-high school which was built in 1999.   

The remodel includes a secure entry, full-size gymnasium, a 400-seat auditorium, 10-11 new classrooms, as well as improved parking and traffic flow.

Dervetski says now is the perfect time to make this transition. “You can wait, but if you wait… sooner or later something will have to be done in the district. And by waiting it’s going to cost more.”

Ms. Lejcher believes the move would be dollars well spent for the community’s children.

“I think the consolidation could impact the student learning,” said Lejcher. “If we have the opportunity to look at a classroom in what would be best in each child and each age classroom what could help that age grow and develop and learn. Reading, math and all skills, it could really benefit our students.”

By improving the learning environment for everyone.