Dear Arbor Park Families:
I hope you and your family are doing well and that you will enjoy a restful Spring Break. It is always a welcomed feeling to see signs of Spring. I feel that we are going to have one of the happiest summers that we have had for a long time. I am writing to you today to give you an important update regarding our facilities.
Scarlet Oak School, as many of you know, is nearing 6o years old and while aging relatively well is too small for our needs. After the completion of our Middle School in 2005, we knew that a new state of the art facility for 1-4 grades was our next project. Due to economic conditions and the recession of 2008, it has taken longer than we would like to realize our goal. In 2018, I began to look in earnest for a buyer for Morton Gingerwood. The MGS building is in great shape, is attractive to purchasers and is in a neighborhood that is near the middle school. Downsizing to three buildings is financially responsible and will be beneficial to our learners and families. One less transition is always appreciated because it provides more continuity for our learners.
I am very pleased to announce that the district has found a buyer for Morton Gingerwood School, allowing us to finally begin our plan for constructing a new elementary building that houses grades 1-4 on the campus of Scarlet Oak School. This transition allows us to continue our district path toward even greater fiscal solvency while providing state of the art facilities that mirror what we have at the Middle School and Kimberly Heights.
We will need at least 5 years to save for our new elementary building. We are disinterested in and opposed to and therefore not going to ask for a tax increase to pay for our new facility. But we are on our way to realizing the dream of 21st century campuses for all our students PreK-8! Arbor Park Middle School and Kimberly Heights School are full of the amenities we expect for our students. And so, for the next five years, to save for our new building, 1st and 2nd grade will be located within the campus of Arbor Park Middle School! Moving plans are already in the works.
Principals Tom Flynn and Dave Evans will be communicating specific information about next year. One good question that I am sure you are thinking is about start times. The Morton Gingerwood bussing schedule and school start and end times will remain the same. 1st and 2nd graders will still be on their own buses. The Arbor Park Middle School start and end times will also remain the same. 5th through 8th graders will ride their own buses. In fact, everything will be the same for our learners, except the location of the school. The name Morton Gingerwood remains as well. Yes, the Owls of MGS will be “nesting” in the halls of APMS!
The staff and student body from MGS will be moving to Arbor Park Middle School (APMS) for the 2021-2022 school year and a number of years thereafter. The specific number of years is unknown at this point in time and dependent on financing. Our goal is to build a “new” Scarlet Oak School (SOS) in the next 5-7 years. The “new” SOS would house Grades 1-4. I hope you are as excited as we are to see our community finally realize a longstanding dream.
I would like to congratulate the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education (SWCCCASE) on acquiring the beautiful Morton Gingerwood School. SWCCCASE is our partner for students and we know the programs housed there will be even richer and more rigorous because they will have a permanent location that is replete with much-needed custom spaces.
I also want to share some information with you that pertains to the transaction:
- July 1, 2021 – The official date that SWCCCASE would take possession of MGS.
- Five (5) Years – The time period of the “lease to own” agreement between SWCCCASE and APSD 145.
- $2,500,000 – The total contract price for the sale of MGS to SWCCCASE.
- $500,000 – The price per year that SWCCCASE would pay to APSD 145 per year for a period of five years.
- Use of Funds – It is expected that all funds from the transaction will be deposited into the Working Cash Fund and saved for future our new building.
- Ownership – APSD 145 would continue to own MGS and all surrounding land/buildings (Transportation) during the 5-year agreement. SWCCCASE may have the option to purchase the entire MGS/Transportation parcel at the end of the agreement.
- Cleaning – SWCCCASE would be responsible for cleaning MGS daily during the 5-year agreement.
- Maintenance – APSD 145 would be responsible for maintaining MGS during the 5-year agreement to ensure that it can operate as a public education school.
- Technology – SWCCCASE will utilize the existing MGS technology infrastructure (wi-fi, phones, cameras, copiers, etc.) during the 5-year agreement.
MGS/APMS Occupancy – School Year 2021/22
- MGS Occupancy – SWCCCASE will operate several special education programs out of MGS during the 5-year agreement. No APSD 145 programs, staff or students (unless placed in a SWCCASE program) will occupy MGS after June 30, 2021.
- APMS Occupancy – 1st and 2nd grade staff and students will transition to APMS in the summer of 2021. Based on current configurations, 1st and 2nd grade will be housed in the current 7th and a portion of the 8th grade areas of APMS. 5th grade staff and students will also be housed in the current 8th grade wing, while 6th through 8th grade staff and students will be housed in the current 5th and 6th grade wings. The 3rd floor PANDA and workout rooms will also be used for 5th through 8th grade staff and students. A building map outlining the locations of grade levels and programs will be posted on our web page and communicated to parents by our Building Principals Mr. Flynn and Mr. Evans.
If you have any questions about the move, please reach out to your building Principal. If you have any questions about the transaction, please contact Dr. O’Keeffe in the Business Office. Also, please never hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Yours in education and respectfully,
Dr. Andrea Sala Superintendent