March 5, 2015
Dear Hall and Longfellow Families,
As you as may be aware, the Hall School Building Committee, which has been appointed by the City Council to oversee the design and construction of a new Hall school, is working through the 21-step process that the Maine Department of Education requires for review and approval of state-funded school construction projects. At its March 4th meeting, the committee received projected enrollment data from Davis Demographics. As is required by the state, school districts must do a regional analysis, look at overall enrollment and plan comprehensively for the best long-term solution based on that enrollment report. Because of Longfellow’s proximity to Hall and Longfellow’s facilities needs, the state has recommended that Longfellow School be included as part of a comprehensive assessment that looks at meeting the needs of as many students as possible.
As a result of the building committee meeting last night, you may have heard rumors about potential changes that could impact Longfellow school. I want to reassure you that no conclusions have been reached and no decisions have been made. The Portland Board of Public Education will be engaging in a comprehensive assessment of Portland’s new school construction needs, and I want to keep you updated on the process.
The building committee had questions about the updated enrollment projections it received this week from Oak Point Associates and is seeking additional information to clarify some aspects of the data. Oak Point will be presenting that additional information and other information at a School Board workshop on March 17, which will follow the board’s regular business meeting that evening.
The information presented there will inform the next steps in the planning process for a new Hall School. It’s also likely the timing of the voter referendum on Hall School will be affected, with the referendum date moving from its originally expected November date to the spring of 2016.
I’d also like to remind families that planning for new school construction is a long-term process. The earliest potential date for occupancy of a new school would be for the 2018-2019 school year.
For more information and to read about the demographic projections, click on the Hall School Building Committee “Quick Link” on the district’s website, www.portlandschools.org. The demographics report also can be accessed directly at: http://www.portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1624?fileID=6296
Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk
This letter can be viewed in PDF format by clicking HERE