There are some items on the agenda for the Board meeting of March 26 that strike my curiosity.
1. Action Item #1, The Facilities Master Plan is already obsolete to the extent that it includes out-of-date information about the Southeast Initiative. As we all know, the accountability elements of that effort were not executed as described in the Board-adopted framework. It is negligent at best and disingenuous at worst to knowingly include obsolete information in a newly adopted document.
2. Action Item #1, The Facilities Master Plan does not include among the Challenges Ahead, beginning on page 86, the challenge of conducting adequate community engagement. Nowhere in the document is there any reference to community engagement whatsoever. Is that intentional and meaningful? Hasn't the Board and the staff learned about the downside of inadequate community engagement from the Denny-Sealth project?
3. Action Items #5, #6, #9, #10, and #11. The District needs to seriously consider whether it will prove cost effective to make small renovations in light of the possibility/probability of major renovations to these same buildings within the next few years. We all remember the recently completed work done at Sealth, paid for by BTA II, that will be destroyed in the recently approved BEX III projects there. Let's be fiscally responsible and not repeat that mistake.
4. Action Items #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, and #11 are for Introduction and action simultaneously. Why can't these action items wait a couple weeks between introduction and action? What is the all-consuming urgency? What precious opportunity will be missed if we wait? If the opportunity was so precious, why couldn't the staff get these items on the agenda at the last meeting? Why is it so critically important that the Board and the staff need to short circuit the only opportunity the community has to comment on these projects? Does any of the community engagement described on the various Board Action Reports actually represent any authentic community engagement? Why can't the Facilities department conduct community engagement? Why do they shift that task to the Board? Why, when schedules get tight, the first and only corner they cut is community engagement?
4. Action Items #7 and #8, athletic fields for Ballard High School and Eckstein Middle School. $2.5 million of BTA II money is going to these athletic facilities while water and air quality BTA II projects at Salmon Bay and Summit are deferred to provide $2.5 million additional funding for the Chief Sealth project. If the water and air quality projects are so urgent that they belong on BTA II, then how can the Board and the staff defer them in favor of athletic field projects?
5. Introduction Item #1, Full Service Community Schools Grant. It cannot have escaped anyone's notice that there is no community engagement in the community engagement portion of this Board Action Report. While this is usually the case, it is particularly disconcerting when applying for a grant to support family involvement projects. The grant request will require information about the needs of students, families, and community residents. How will that be possible when no community engagement has been conducted and none is planned?