Back-to-school: meeting new faces; an upcoming referendum
The origins of the Hopkins School District date to the late 1800s, when the city was known as West Minneapolis. More than a century later, Hopkins Independent School District 270 has had yet another first day of school come and go. Now, educators are looking forward to the rest of the 2017-2018 school year.
In addition to welcoming nearly 7,000 students from kindergarten through grade 12, the district also welcomed a new superintendent, new principal and a diverse group of 47 new teachers.
Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed started as superintendent in July. She is the first woman and the first person of color to hold the position within the district. From being a social studies teacher to serving as a principal at her alma mater, “Dr. M-R” has a diverse background at many different layers of the educational system. She most recently held leadership roles at public schools in Washington, D.C. and California, but is excited to apply her extensive experience in her home state.
“I am thrilled to be here,” Mhiripiri-Reed said at her first school boarding meeting.
Hopkins West Junior High has a new principal, Leanne Kampfe, who isn’t new to the school or the district. Kampfe started as a music instructor at Tanglen Elementary School before moving onto West Junior High to serve as the vocal music director and then assistant dean. Her most recent role was assistant principal at a Minneapolis high school.
“We feel fortunate to be able to welcome Leanne back to Hopkins,” said assistant superintendent Nik Lightfoot.
Of the 47 new teachers, about half are from out of state. Six came from other countries. The group includes a handful of male elementary school teachers, a former journalist and two individuals who are pursuing teaching as a second career.
The 2017-18 school year also marks a change in junior high boundaries. Elementary school students from Alice Smith, Tanglen, Meadowbrook and the Juntos program will attend North Junior High. Eisenhower, Gatewood, Glen Lake and XinXing students will attend West Junior High. According to the district website, officials “are in the process of updating those boundaries at this time.”
More change could be in Hopkins Public Schools’ near future: voters within the district will get the chance to vote on three matters in the Tuesday, Nov. 7, election.
The referendum will have three questions, about a bond to update and expand facilities, a capital projects levy to support technology and curriculum and an operating levy to maintain programs and services.
If all items are approved, the tax impact for the average homeowner within the district would be equivalent to $3 each month, according to the district website.
The proposed $30 million bond would provide funds to renovate and repair schools and facilities. It would cost the average homeowner $2 per month.
With that bond, the district would remodel and construct additions onto existing schools. Hopkins High School would get new and updated learning spaces, an addition to the cafeteria and kitchen, remodeled athletic fields and improvements to the stadium entrance, common areas, recreational facilities and offices.
Hopkins West Junior High and North Junior High Schools would also receive new and updated learning spaces. West Junior High’s field would undergo improvements.
The bond would also serve to remodel and add onto Meadowbrook Elementary School, as well as improve traffic and parking at Glen Lake Elementary School.
The proposed capital projects levy would further support curriculum and technology by generating an additional $500,000 per year for a total of an annual $9.9 million. The current levies generate $9.4 million per year. Overall, an additional $5 million would be brought in over the course of 10 years. The increase would cost the average homeowner $1 per month.
The additional funds would go toward acquiring, installing and maintaining software, curriculum, instructional equipment and improved technology across various school district facilities.
The proposed operating levy would maintain the current revenue amount per student. Each student brings in a revenue of $2,075, which has continued to generate $15 million per year. If approved, there would not be a tax change.
“Approving these three referendum questions will give Hopkins Public Schools the ability to provide improved facilities, technology, curriculum and learning resources that our students need and deserve,” said Mhiripiri-Reed.
More information can be found on hopkinsschools.org.
Contact Sabina Badola at [email protected].com.