Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Closures & Consolidations - LIVE from the Stanford Center

7:40 pm

3 tired children, a very hot room, and a very slow-paced meeting led to my decision to leave and go home.

******

7:05 pm --- the recommendations....finally but Board members asking questions after each section so this could drag on for a while

- Six buildings permanent closure
- One building temporary closure
- Nine programs recommended for relocation
- Two new programs
- Five programs discontinued

Queen Anne/Magnolia
- Relocate SBOC from Old Hay to Meany and co-locate with Nova High School
- Meany Middle school students assigned elsewhere
- Involves change in SBOC model, students allowed to stay in school longer
- Carr asking question about whether or not honoring earlier promises to SBOC community
- Martin-Morris asking how Meany students will be re-assigned; Tracy says it's complicated and provides different scenarios based on where the student currently lives; described some of the transportation implications as well. Looked at reassignments where children would be able to access school buses.
- Bass concerned about what happens to Meany students as well. Concern about "cohesion" and "displacement" of students.


*********

7:03 pm

Closure guidelines

1) Do programs need to move to other areas of the district to improve equity/access? Or be added? How will closures affect student learning and district financial health?

2) Evaluating buildings based on 5 guidelines: a) balancing capacity across district; b) building condition based on Meng study (buildings with condition below 79 were candidates for closure; above 79 candidates for re-purposing); c) cost per pupil; d) other schools close-by serving same grade levels; e) academic performance

*****

7:01 pm

Closure timeline presented (nothing new here). Make sure to check the website for all details and look at when you need to call/e-mail to sign up to speak at the Board meetings and site hearings at schools scheduled for closure.

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6:58 pm

Demographics presentation by Tracy Libros. This year had an increase in enrollment, driven entirely by elementary enrollment. Total enrollment had been dropping for a decade. Had the largest Kindergarten class this year in a decade.

Grades 6-8 have been dropping as smaller cohorts move through. But we expect to see that climb back up again as larger enrollment numbers in elementary move up.

High school is the area with the largest drop in enrollment numbers. Expect that continue until to 2012.

By area of the city, expecting increases in elementary enrollment in every cluster except Southeast and Central.

*****

6:55 pm





I get the feeling that the Board has been told to ask questions to drag this section out until 7 pm. This feels endless.


*****

6:40 pm

Holly talking about "definitions."

Planning capacity: teaching stations X average class size; 25% set aside

Average class size used: 23-K to 3; 25-4 to 5; 30-9 to 12

Results in macro-level average capacities across the system

Functional capacity

- Planning capacity compared against the actual use of the building

- Results in building-specific capacity numbers


Bell has concerns with some of this....too subjective. "After reading the analysis, a number of our schools are under planning capacity, but 30% are actually over...." due to efficient use of buildings and high demand. "Almost any school will fill space available."

Holly talking about how it involves "walking the building, looking at what's there...also looking at what could be there."

Goodloe-Johnson said changed policy this year. Principals no longer allowed to set their own lower desired capacity. Final decision about capacity now rests with district.

*****

6:35 pm

Don Kennedy showing "savings" for closing buildings, different for elementary school, K-8, middle school and high school.

Martin-Morris asking question about potential costs for closing school buildings, wanting clarification about which budget year those costs would be applied to.

Bell asking for analysis of capital costs that can be avoided through closure and consolidation process. Also wants to make sure one-time costs of closures do not impact this year's operating budget. Kennedy says costs will be covered by using budget reserve. Will present details to Board at December 17th meeting.


*****

6:30 pm

Don Kennedy talking about fiscal challenges and potential solutions.

Expected expenditures increased, created $24 million shortfall for FY2010.

Review of Weighted Staffing Standards model "Cost savings through identifying and prioritizing the most critical services for student achievement."

Potential elimination of I-728 funds from state. Final state budget revealed end of December.

****

At 7 pm the district will post the proposal on the web site and send out an e-mail to media.

This is the page to watch: https://www.seattleschools.org/area/capacity/index.dxml

I wonder if they are going drag this out and not make the announcement until then...

****

6:20 pm

Just saw another blog author --- Johnny Calcagno.

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Southeast Education Progress Report - Aki, Kurose, Rainier Beach and Cleveland principals presenting

Cleveland principal makes interesting reference to doing the things that "90/90/90" schools do. Will do research and post more about that later. Basically, these are schools with mostly low-income and children of color achieving beyond expectations. Discussing staff development and other efforts as well.

Talking about increase in number of honors and AP classes being offered. Daily "learning walks," changing in culture/climate, home visits, back-to-school nights, and much more.

****

6:05 pm

Turned over meeting to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

"Preliminary recommendations...come directly out of our vision...and work for Excellence for All...$24 million known budget shortfall for next year, and that number may grow...We can expect a 7% additional cut from the state...an additional $21 million...Sister districts losing money this fiscal year...important for framing the acceleration and why we are making the decisions that we do to reduce the overcapacity that we have."

"If we don't make these decisions...the flip side would be very deep cuts to programs...building closure is only one of many strategies...Looking at making central office cuts...reviewing weighted staffing standards...efficiency audit...balancing budget and creating a stronger district for our families." "The team considered various options for every single school...kept returning to "How does this recommendation strengthen schools for every single family..."

Emphasizing vision

Actions to reach vision
- Math and Science
- Assessments
- Data systems
- Hiring process (timely, efficient and attracts highest caliber talent) and
- Managing capacity and student assignment system (tonight's focus)

Outlining the "problem" (restating issues that have already been presented in the past)

****

6:02 pm

The meeting room at the Stanford Center is now full and overflowing. Cheryl Chow has just opened the meeting. Calling it a School Board "work session." Dialogue between Directors and Staff. (understood: not audience)

*****
5:45 pm

The room is still quite empty within only 15 minutes to go before the "workshop" starts. There are almost as many media folk as parents.

Mel, Charlie, Chris Jackins, Denise Gonzalez-Walker, and other long-term parent education advocates are here.

****

32 comments:

Priya said...

90/90/90 schools are:

90% Students of color
90% Free and reduced lunch
90% At state standard

TechyMom said...

Thanks so much for doing this. My refresh button is getting a workout tonight...

SE Mom said...

Ditto.

I especially like the "red carpet
arrivals" updates:

"Just saw another blog author --- Johnny Calcagno"

Priya said...

Hitting refresh keeps me from biting my nails. Well, sort of.

TechyMom said...

I don't buy it about Central. Montlake, Madison Valley, Madison Park, and Madrona are crawling (literally) with preschoolers. Can't speak to other neighborhoods.

Priya said...

The Meany move is an interesting one, especially because there is no room at Washington to house them.

Unless the APP program gets split to Hamilton. Hmmm

add said...

With all these questions after each recommendation, I'm afraid you will be there til midnight, Beth. Did you pack provisions?

TechyMom said...

Dear SPS,
If you say you're going to make an announcement at 6, please make it at 6, not 8.
Thanks.

reader said...

So, where's the beef? Or the rest of it?

Keepin'On said...

Yes really! Was there a riot? I have been waiting to read the info on SPS website since 6!

Thanks though Beth - this is AWESOME!

reader said...

And here we all thought Meany was a such a great "diamond in the rough." Oh well.

seattlgal said...

Just read on the WS blog that Summit is to be co-located with RBHS. Can't wrap my mind around that one. Imagine sending your 5 year old kindergartener to RBHS/Summit??

Greg said...

In case you haven't found it yet, the recommendations are in the FAQ.

SE Mom said...

No kidding - I've been questioning the safety factor around RB for high schoolers - no way for young elementary - that does defy good
judgement.

l_s said...

For those who just can't stand the wait for the rest:

Arbor Heights program to close. Pathfinder to move in.

Summit K-12 to move to Rainier Beach High School, co-housed with RBHS.

AAA to close. Van Asselt to move in.

Lowell to close. Program split between Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne.

T.T. Minor to close.

add said...

Beth, I just want to say THANK YOU for your commitment to all of this, and to your kids for hanging in there.

Trish Dziko said...

Beth, you're a star! Thanks for keeping us all up to date. Hope the kids get a good night sleep.

Also happy the district had enough sense to keep the T.T. Minor Montessori in tact.

Beth Bakeman said...

Just read the comments for the first time. (I was too busy typing and managing sibling stuff to do much else at the Stanford Center.) Thanks for the feedback.

I wish I could have stayed, but I think the West Seattle Blog is doing a great job of covering it. Would recommend you check that out and follow for any insights beyond the actual list, which is now posted.

MomAsks.. said...

Summit to RBHS, that should be a post of its own.

Thank you for this information.

seattlgal said...

Where will there be space for all of the Meany kids to go?? What middle schools are in the neighborhood??? McClure?? The new Summit at RBHS??? Orca??? Aki??? No space at TOPS, or Washington.

It's sad, because it seemed that Meany finally had good leadership, a strong parent presence, and were on an uphill swing. Why close them now?? Why not close Aki??

l_s said...

Few thoughts:

1. I think Aki Kurose should move in with RBHS and Summit given the Aki building. The building would still be much larger than needed, but it makes more sense to co-house Aki with RBHS.

2. I think the District is laying the groundwork to revisit splitting the APP program to Hamilton. If APP is split at the elementary level, there is no longer an argument for "keeping the cohort together". That also opens up seats at Washington, where Meany kids could go.

3. I have heard rumor that the new Meany principal wasn't as loved as the previous. I'm not sure if this has an impact or not, but could explain the decision to close that program.

4. If there is a new k-8 in the Northend and more capacity at Blaine, there could be a few extra seats at TOPS as well. Obviously not enough, but a few here and a few there, and it could be taken care of.

5. It could also be that the District is looking to send kids from the CD to Hamilton. There are already a lot of south end students who attend, so it would be plausible to add some from the CD as well.

The Summit to RB is odd. There is no way those two programs could happily co-exist.

seattlgal said...

Where will 300 AS1 students go in the north end?? My guess is many AS1 families will home school or look for a good fit in a private school. They won't fold in easily to mainstream public schools.

Why close Pinehurst?? Isn't this in the area where the district needs capacity??

I do think the Thornton Creek to Jane Adams is a good move, as well as opening Decatur as a new NE cluster school. I wonder what the new boundaries will look like??

Maureen said...

Doesn't it seem strange to move Van Asselt K-5 practically right across the street from Wing Luke K-5? Why waste the AAA building configured for a big K-8 on a K-5? Why not send Summit there?

(Aside to I_s, TOPS doesn't draw from the N or NE clusters so it's unlikely that an expanded AEII/Thornton Creek will draw kids from there.)

Beth, THANK YOU!

Mimi56 said...

It makes no sense to split APP between two s.end schools. Transportation costs would be huge. Show me the savings here. One north and one south seems reasonable. I know that space is at a premium in the n.end, but this makes no sense.

Maureen said...

Maybe they are expecting the north end APP kids to settle for Spectrum at the new K-5 that will replace Thornton Creek? About 125 of the 500 APP kids now come from the NE cluster. Encouraging them to stay close to home seems like a bad idea right now (given the NE capacity crunch--ditto QA/Magnolia)) .

Roy Smith said...

My guess is that many AS#1 families that live in N/NE cluster will end up at Thornton Creek in Jane Addams. Ones that don't live in N/NE cluster won't end up at other schools in N/NE.

Positives:
1) Converting Decatur to a reference area school actually addresses the overcrowding problem in the neighborhood where it most needs to be addressed.

2) Giving Thornton Creek room to grow is a very good idea. It may also actually relieve some of the middle school pressure on Eckstein as Thornton Creek is a program with a good reputation that could attract families. It will be interesting to see how exactly it is structured.

Potential Negatives:
1) Is RBHS big enough to co-locate Summit K-12 and RBHS with zero overlap in facilies usage (i.e., completely separate parts of the building)? If it is, then this may work out. If not, then it is very bad for Summit.

2) IIRC, the APP community is real keen on splitting the cohort. Do these recommendations address those concerns?

Priya said...

Re: "the APP cohort"

My daughter is currently a freshman at Garfield, having joined APP in the 7th grade. Her observation is that major friendship groups tend to be geographically clustered. Those children rode the same buses and grew up in the same neighborhood. I have seen this as she comes home talking about "the Ballard kids" and "the Montlake kids" who are all best friends in their respective geographic areas.

I believe the APP program could withstand such a split.

I'm sure there is a great gardening metaphor about splitting and new pots and such.

classof75 said...

Had to leave @ 7:30- but sounds like everything was a done deal.

I wasn't in the district when QA and Lincoln were closed- so that they could say both a north & south end school was shuttered- but I wonder what is going to happen in 3 years, when the children of all teh families who are moving to the south end , reach K age.

I also wonder- how supported the Summit community will feel knowing that they are expected to utilize a building at the opposite end of the district from their home of over two decades- to a community that other high school principals do not feel is safe for their high school students.

Will those Summit students stay in the district or will they go to home schooling and schools like the Clearwater school which until recently, was across the street from Summit
http://www.clearwaterschool.com/

It's true in general, the parents of Summit students are not doctors and lawyers.
They are more likely to be teachers & artists, chefs and writers. I guess we have too many of those already.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I am just speechless.

Moving Summit to co-house with Rainier Beach is insane. Just how does co-location work? Are there two principals? Two sets of staff? How would they keep the communities separate? Would the Summit high schoolers just become part of Rainier Beach? It's not like there's a playground at the school for the elementary kids. How much will it cost to "repurpose" the school to accommodate elementary kids? And why?

As everyone has mentioned above, there's no way the majority of the Summit community would relocate this far south--especially to co-locate with a school that has had numerous serious behavior problems in the recent past. I would not send my 14-yr-old there and it's in my neighborhood. I certainly wouldn't put my 5-yr-old on a bus for 45-minutes to get there. The SAARS grocery across the street has to blast classical music in the parking lot to deter loitering--not the best environment for an elementary school to say the least.

Destroying Meany, a school that was working hard to reinvent itself and fulfill a need in the Central area while Aki Kurose, an under-enrolled, failing school remains untouched. Why?

And of course, we've all got so much time to write letters and attend meetings with the holidays and all. It all seems so futile.

Tiki said...

Stunned and feeling shell-shocked AS#1 parent here. We've got two kids there, happy kids who love to go to their school. I am just heartbroken at this.

From the responses I got from school board members I emailed, I guess I can't say I'm surprised. They all seemed to imply that it could happen without actually saying so.

I don't know if a fight will help. I want wisdom and guidance about what to do next.

nacmom said...

I too am amazed at all of this. I am a reg. ed NE parent who is shocked that the district just 'undid' the work it took to get jane addams 700-800 seats for the gen ed crunch in NE - currently 758 over capacity and growing... moving out one alt for another of similar size? where's the logic in that? except I do agree that TC's decatur building is better located for easing crunch, but it has only 1/2 the seats... and doesn't address middle school overcrowding. this one is curious and frankly, must be infuriating for Summitt families.

I think the district is too confident that they can move APP kids anywhere and the parents will send them. I already know people figuring out if they can 'fall back' to local spectrum elementary spots in NE, of which, there are, of course, not enough. I agree that only a N and S option for elementary makes sense (or one central, but...). these are little kids and the same reason that summit families will balk at sending their youngest way, way out of their neighbhorhood will be same for APP parents. Why not put APP North at Pinehurst? I actually know it will grow as the # of kids in N and NE is growing, so too will need for spectrum, app. why not make a spectrum/app site?

to tiki - sadly the district cannot and does not allow for small schools. simple as that. we all know it goes against studies, but I am finding (as I am researching!) that most local districs are similar. big, big, big schools. More efficient to run, so a small school with small classes is quickly becomding somthing only the private schools offer - at a hefty price.

Overall, schools are going to close, we all know that. but some of these recommendations don't make much sense. Sumitt to co-locate with RB? the board has its work cut out for it...

Melissa Westbrook said...

SE Mom, thanks for the smile of the day - ("red carpet arrivals"). I only wish I had a tiara and a designer gown to wear to the Board meetings.