(FYI, all the Board was there except Cheryl Chow, out of the country, and Harium Martin-Morris on Board business.)
There were a number of things both on the charts and in Rachel's remarks that didn't quite ring true to me. I am not trained so she probably has good reason to come to her conclusions.
- Slide 8 about factors driving enrollment. One of the factors listed was "dropout and graduation rates". I thought this odd simply because I'm not sure that most people, when enrolling their student, think about this. Or maybe it was meant as there is more room in high schools because we have a high dropout rate.
- Slide 9 was a chart showing births and kindergarten enrollment. We lose about 2,000 of these kids from birth to enrollment. She said that a lot of it was due to private school enrollment but I'd like to know the exact numbers especially since I'm sure some percentage simply move. As she says in Slide 10 about migration, "hundreds of students enroll and leave SPS each year". So it stands to figure that between birth and K, that some families do move away.
- Slide 11, plain and simple; we are losing more students (for all reasons) than we gain.
- I was amazed to see some of the next slides because it was about the numbers of private and public school students. Slide 12 showed overall enrollment. Between 2005-2008, prviate schools gain 1,000 more students. That's sobering. Between 1999-2009, SPS lost 2,000. Well, private schools obviously didn't gain them all so they must of moved. Rachel repeatedly made the point that they don't have data on out-of-district students who go to private schools and she thinks that where they get a lot of their numbers.
- Slide 14 was public/private for K-5. SPS lost 1,217 and private gained 311.
- Slide 15 was public/private for middle school. SPS lost 884 and private gained 263.
- Slide 16 was public/private for high school. SPS was up by 117 and private gained 730.
There was a discussion about how difficult it is to find out where housing is being built, how many units, who it is likely aimed at, will it fill and how many tenants will have children.
(I have to say at this point that the directors all had good, solid points that they made. They are clearing thinking this thru and not just thinking outloud.)
Steve said he felt the district was behind "the power curve on visibility on this issue". He referenced a big turnout at his community meeting that morning. He feels he is hearing about a sense of being behind on this type of info on development. Sherry mentioned the Puget Sound Regional Council as a possible place for more information. Tracy mentioned that they did get more resources for demography (as Rachel works alone). However, she did not mention how much,how long or when it would happen.
- Slide 22 - Birth to K rates. Rachel said they didn't know the cause of the rise; more families moving in or fewer children leaving
- Slide 23 Projected K enrollment to 2015-2016. It shows a rise of about 600 more K-students.
- Slide 25 was hard to believe (Projected K growth by clusters, 2008-2012). It showed a decline in the NE/NW and a huge growth in the SE and some in West Seattle North and North. This seems to come out of nowhere given the rates we've seen in the NE.
- Slide 28 was impressive - nearly 3,000 more students in SPS than previously projected by 2015-2016.
- Slide 31 talked about market share at 6th grade. But they are making an assumption (I don't know why) that the guaranteed assignments may result in more students staying. I can't believe that will make a huge difference.
- slide 32, Change by cluster in middle school. Big gains in North, NE, NW,Q/M and SE. It may be a good thing that South Shore (formerly New School) has gone back to being a regular attendance school rather than an option school.
- Slide 33 showing the continued decline of high school enrollment with only a modest rise towards 2015-2016.
- Slide 34, Change by cluster in high school. Gains in NW, NE, Q/M. A big drop expected in the Central area and South.
- Summary slide. WA Federation of Independent Schools projects a 15% decline statewide in enrollment for 2009-2010. Again, the district seems to believe that guaranteed assignments will get more market back at the middle school level.
Steve agreed that middle school enrollment may rise and thinks there will be a change in middle school perceptions.
- that he felt that we see clusters of growth around high performing schools. That people will move to get into them. He feels this might be a big factor in the new SAP.
- that he felt "bullish" about SPS and people coming back to them.
- he had met with Holly Miller (Mayor's education liasion) and talked about working more together on issues around housing and school enrollment
I, along with parents Kellie and Lauren who also attended, felt that we weren't sure about some of Rachel's analysis. Both Kellie and Lauren have statistical analysis backgrounds and felt that some of our uncertainty might be because Rachel works alone and so may not bounce her ideas/analysis off others.