Before Wednesday Board meeting there is a Board Work Session, from 4:00-5:30, which had been advertised as being about the Assignment plan but now reads "Capacity Management Priorities." I have to wonder if the capacity issues are overwhelming the discussion so they are putting off the assignment plan or if it is part of the discussion. I wasn't able to reach anyone at the Board office to ask.
The first look at the agenda for this Wednesday's meeting and boy, is it chockful of odd and interesting items.
First up, they are selling several properties: The Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Community Center property is selling for $3,005,000 and the Small Faces property for $1.3M. They are also selling a couple of playgrounds to the City Parks. For example the Phinney Ridge playground is going for $5.4 M and the Webster playground for $1.6M.
Then we have the renaming (and revamping) of the Student Learning Committee to become the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee with the goal of "re-focus the committee to curriculum and instruction policy work'. Additionally they want to rename the Finance Committee to be the Audit and Finance Committee to get back to work they are charged with doing.
They are also planning to adopt a new procurement policy and repeal several outdated policies and procedures. I looked it over but I don't know enough about whether this is going to help or not.
One item that bothers me is the spending of between $600,000 and $700,000 to have a consultant look at buildings to help formulate the BTA levy coming in Feb. 0f 2010. The reasoning?
"This Project will provide consulting services related to building condition evaluation, seismic evaluation, and academic adequacy of the District’s school buildings. The consultant will provide the District with a prioritized list of potential projects along with cost estimates to complete said projects."
Why am I unhappy? They just did this two years ago. From the agenda page:
- Building Condition Survey, Meng Analysis – 2005 and March 2006.
• Educational Adequacy Survey, Meng Analysis – 2005 and March 2006.
• Seismic Evaluation, Meng Analysis – 2005 and March 2006.
Why are we reevaluating these buildings? Not that much has changed especially since some buildings are closed and others are being remodeled. The district pretty much knows what needs to be done. I have to wonder why they feel the need to send this money out the door again so soon.
Then there's this one:
"Acceptance of grants in the total amount of $600,002 from the Alliance for Education to support early implementation of the Strategic Plan."
It looks as though these are mostly about the Southeast Education Initiative. But under the space for Community Engagement, it says this:
"Throughout the strategic planning process the public was informed that grants would be sought to support the work of the plan. These grants are the first the district has received after the adoption of the plan. The work supported by these grants does not by itself warrant a separate community engagement process. The Southeast Education Initiative has an existing outreach and engagement plan and this work is already part of those communications."
This was put forth by Carol Reva Treat, Executive Director of Strategic Planning (I've never heard or met her; anyone else?) . To say that the public knew they were going out for grants and that's enough information seems quite a broad brush stroke. I'm not saying they had to actively hold meetings but it makes me uneasy to say "well the public knew we were seeking grants". At the time, no one had a clear idea of the plan or how it would be carried out. I put in SE Education Initiative into the district's search function and didn't find any info on outreach and engagement on the SE Initiative. So it's interesting that they say they have and are already doing outreach and public engagement but it can't be found on the website.