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Helena Schools looking at hiring consulting firm to help with planning for future

Meeting Tuesday
2011-09-11T00:00:00Z 2014-05-20T15:07:00Z Helena Schools looking at hiring consulting firm to help with planning for futureBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
September 11, 2011 12:00 am  • 

School officials in Helena are preparing to take a hard look at how education is delivered and plan to hire a consulting firm to help.

Trustees will discuss the recommendations from the evaluation committee for the Educational Facility Planning Services at a board meeting Tuesday night at the Front Street Learning Center at 6 p.m.

Some of the committee’s recommendations are to increase the number of stakeholder meetings, to explore options about teaching and learning and to develop master-plan timelines for facility and technology overlays to the current buildings and new construction. It also recommends continuing negotiations with Mosaic Architecture, DLR group and BrainSpaces with the goal of reaching an estimate next month.

Business Manager Kim Harris and John Carter, support services administrator, are heading up the endeavor.

Harris said the hope is to have a contract that defines the scope of work, defines the end-product result of the master facility plan, and delineates what a technology overlay would look like, including cost estimates for everything.

The district will pay for the planning services using building reserves funds, as approved by voters in 2007 for seven years in the annual amounts of $1 million in the elementary district and $550,000 in the high school.

The goal, says Superintendent Keith Meyer, is to determine what needs to be done to deliver education in today’s world.

Meyer says he hopes the public gets involved to express its expectations. He said having a firm help with the planning is important because the district does not have the staff to tackle such an undertaking.

“Knowing we don’t have staff time to do this, we looked for a firm to help us that has done this kind of work,” he said.

Meyer said the firm’s job is not to tell the district what education should look like but rather is a mechanism to help the district formulate a plan.

“I’m excited in being able to have the dialogue in talking about what education will look like 10, 15 or 50 years out,” he said.

While trustees will be discussing the potential contract for educational planning this coming week, it will not be taking public comment until a contract is established, likely next month.

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

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(2) Comments

  1. pichia
    Report Abuse
    pichia - September 12, 2011 6:45 pm
    What a waste of money. I'm not surprised that the administrators would think this is a good idea.

    God forbid they ask the teachers themselves for ideas on how to improve education in Helena.
  2. mercedes
    Report Abuse
    mercedes - September 12, 2011 8:28 am
    I've never understood the consultant business. It seems to me that the people within the district are best endowed with the ability to decide how education in Helena should be "delivered." Consultants can best be described as people who borrow your watch and want you to ask them what time it is.

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