Future Needs Advisory Committee

Update Winter 2021

In the spring of 2020, the District’s Leadership Team and Board of Education followed up on the work of the committee by further planning for a potential referendum. However, when the pandemic struck in March of 2020, the Board and Leadership Team put all plans for a potential referendum on hold. At the Board of Education meeting on November 22, board members supported the proposed timeline for planning to resume for a potential referendum in November of 2022 or April of 2023.  

Potential Referendum Focus Groups
These Focus Groups are open for the public to attend and observe.

December 7, 2021
Topics: a review of the work that was completed in 2019-2020, introduce some additional District needs that have developed over the past two years, and gathered input on how best the District can move forward.

Find the presentation here.

January 3, 2022 or January 4, 2022
Kaleidoscope Academy in the MPR from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. (Discussion topics will be the same both nights.)
Topics: facility needs and staffing additions to reduce class sizes in grades kindergarten through second.

Find the presentation here.

January 18, 2022 or January 20, 2022
East High School LMC from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. (Discussion topics will be the same both nights.)
Topics: adding staffing to support increased STEM opportunities, moving all 6th grader students to middle schools, and “right sizing” district facilities.

Find the presentation here.

Although a quorum of Board of Education members may be present, no official Board of Education business will be conducted.


Concerns about the population growth on the north side of the district, and changing populations in other areas of our District, led to a request for Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction to complete a capacity study of all District schools. The results of this study show that many of our schools have an enrollment that is above the recommended level for optimal utilization.

In addition, district-level and school staff members continually share the challenges they face in meeting the needs of their students with our current facilities. Many of the challenges faced are the result of schools that were designed for outdated educational models, or schools that lack the space needed for student interventions and supports. 

In response to these concerns, the Appleton Area School District’s Board of Education has assembled the “Future Needs Advisory Committee” to serve in an advisory capacity to District administration and the Board of Education. The committee will support the District’s efforts to explore long-term facilities options that provide the necessary space for students to find success in our schools.  

2014 Referendum

In February of 2014, our community voted to support a $25 million referendum to address one-time expenditures for:
• Classroom technology and student computers.
• Energy efficiency projects such as window replacements.
• Updates to selected science and technology education classrooms at the middle and high school levels. 
• Additions to schools to meet current space needs.
• Remodeling of building entrances to improve building security during the school day.

A second referendum was also approved by our community and asked to provide ongoing support for the following areas was also approved by our community:
• Establish a technology replacement cycle.
• Support five additional staff positions to provide teacher support for the use of technology as an instructional tool.
• Increase our district facilities’ capital projects budget to better maintain our 27 school sites.

We in the District remain extremely grateful for the support our community gave us in passing the 2014 referendum, which allowed us to address many of our technology and facility needs. However, we were not able to address all of our needs in the following areas:
• Additions to schools to meet current space needs.
• Updates to selected science and technology education classrooms at the middle and high school levels. 
• Remodeling of building entrances to improve building security during the school day.

In addition, since the passing of the 2014 referendum, the following additional needs have developed:
• Learning spaces that meet the needs of our population of learners, such as those students with Special Education needs, English Learner needs, At-Risk needs, and Intervention needs.
• Learning spaces for specialist areas such as Art and Music.
• Spaces to meet the growing mental health needs of our students.
• 21st Century programing to include STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics), Robotics, Makerspaces, Coding, and Graphic Design.
• Co-curricular/supporting facilities that function as instructional spaces during the school day and multipurpose spaces for after-school co-curricular activities. 

School Capacity Study – Hoffman Planning, Design, and Construction

This study was completed in 2016, and updated during the summer of 2019. The study shows that 11 of our 16 elementary schools have student enrollments above their “Fully Utilized” capacity. In addition, one of our four middle schools and all three of our high schools have enrollments above their fully-utilized capacity.  
Student Program Growth

Providing effective instructional space for student learning and teacher work/office space is essential to the delivery of the Appleton Area School District (AASD) curriculum. While the overwhelming majority of classroom space is utilized for instructional space to meet the learning needs of all students there are also program specific classroom spaces needs. These include: 

Enrollment Growth

Student enrollment trends are one of the drivers of the instructional space needs of any school district. The AASD has a total enrollment of approximately 16,300 students.

However, included in this total is 570 students who attend our virtual charter school, Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA), as well as 950 students who attend one of our Community 4K Schools, which are spread throughout the community. 

The chart below provides a longitudinal overview of student enrollment within AASD school buildings (WCA and 4K not included) over the past 10 years.   


Level  2009-10 2014-15 2018-19
Elementary  7,744 7,880 7,945
Middle  2,153 2,270 2,186
High School 4,709 4,564 4,688
 Total 14,606 14,634 14,819

Potential Residential Development
The AASD stays connected to the municipalities that have property within school district boundaries. As a result, we better understand areas within the AASD with the most potential for growth and those that are most likely to be developed for residential use in the future based on existing and proposed land use and zoning.


  • The residential growth areas north of Highway 41 in the Town of Grand Chute and City of Appleton offer the most potential for future residential development within the school district. Indications show that growth areas in the town of Grand Chute have the potential to develop faster than areas in the City of Appleton.
  • These areas are within the Houdini, Edna Ferber, and Huntley attendance areas
  • Based on historical data, and input from the City of Appleton and Town of Grand Chute, the following are projections for development within the School District area north of Highway 41:
  • 60 - 75 new homes per year (300 - 375 new homes over the next 5 years), this would equate to approximately 30 - 40 new students per year (150 - 200 students over the next five years).
  • Approximately 50% of these new single-family homes will develop within the Houdini attendance area.
  • Approximately 50% of these new single-family homes will develop within the Huntley and Edna Ferber attendance areas with the majority occurring in Huntley's area.

Population Changes

There are populations of students who need additional support to help them succeed. This type of support will often include small group instruction, small group intervention, or even one-to-one intervention. Providing this level of support requires additional staffing and additional space within each school building. The chart below provides a longitudinal overview of student enrollment for these populations over the past 10 years.


2009-10 2014-15 2018-19
English Language Learners 1,379 1,247 1,512
Students with Special Education Needs 2,057 2,181 2,599

Acquisition of Facilities


In the past decade we have been fortunate to be able to acquire facilities that can then be remodeled and utilized for instructional space and school facilities: 

  • Fox River Academy is now located in the City of Appleton’s old Park and Recreation facility adjacent to Jefferson School on Prospect Avenue. 
  • Appleton Montessori School is now located at the old Plamann Park School previously owned by Outagamie County.
  • Wisconsin Connection Academy is located in a donated to the District Montessori School building located on Capital Drive. 

Addressing Immediate Space Needs

Each year underutilized spaces at school sites are remodeled to address space needs. An example of this can be seen at several elementary schools where physical education locker rooms and computer labs have been remodeled so they can be utilized as instructional spaces. In addition, areas that were originally constructed for storage purposes have been converted to offices or spaces for staff to meet with students.     

Presently the AASD rents instructional space from Zion Lutheran Church for Appleton Bilingual School, St. Mary’s Catholic Church for Birth-Five programs, Grace Lutheran Church for pre-school programming, and the City Center Plaza for Valley New School. In addition, the AASD contracts with 19 community sites to meet the needs of Appleton Community 4K.    

Grade Level Relocation

Moving 6th grade Odyssey students to Magellan, which is located at Wilson Middle School, has alleviated some of the overcrowding at Highlands given the recent 2nd grade Odyssey program expansion.

In addition, with 120 students in 6th grade attending Kaleidoscope Academy, elementary schools such as Columbus, Edison, Franklin, and Huntley have alleviated some overcrowding.


The Future Needs Advisory Committee included parents, students, community members, school staff, and administrators.

Committee Members

Planned Meeting Topics


o September 10, 2019
Presentation Minutes

o September 24, 2019
School Level Data
Referendum History
School Capacity Data
Residential Growth Areas

o October 8, 2019
Special Education and LEP Enrollments Equity Activity Responses Minutes

o October 22, 2019

o November 12, 2019
Presentation 6th Grade Presentation Sp Ed-EL-Fine Arts Presentation Minutes

o November 26, 2019
Hoffman Presentation

o December 3, 2019
Hoffman Presentation
Feedback Form

o December 17, 2019
Presentation Top 4 Options Summary Feedback from Dec 3 meeting

Committee work may continue into 2020, but the schedule of meetings will only go through December of 2019.