I attended tonight's Public Hearing on the SAP but very briefly. Sherry Carr, Michael De Bell, Peter Maier, Mary Bass and Steve Sundquist were there (the other directors were at graduations but it was being taped). When I left there were a scant 35 people there. I was surprised.
My remarks to the Board were essentially that
(1) we are already way down the road to go back
(2) predictability was what parents asked for and what this plan delivers (and, if you think about the Supreme Court ruling on the tiebreaker, all those parents really wanted was to know where their kids would be assigned)
(3) BUT, if the Board doesn't have a transition period where they might grandfather sibs during that time AND a detailed plan from staff as to how to handle the various capacity issues throughout the district, then they have no business approving it. The district does have money for portables (although I am told they are "impossible" to buy - I note that whenever Facilities doesn't want to do something, it's too costly or impossible); they just have to redo or limit the projects in BTA or BEX. Or, they can ask Mayor Nickels (up for reelection I believe) to fasttrack any permitting needed to reopen Sandpoint and/or McDonald. In short, the plan has to match every student with their attendance school and if it can't do that in action, then it isn't a coherent plan.
I did point out that there were still questions about the lack of a distance tiebreaker, what happens to early sibling registration and how long the transition period would be and would it include grandfathering siblings during that period?
Lastly, I told parents that while they are anticipating families torn apart from communities that the reality is that it is happening now for hundreds of families whose schools are closing.
There were not big rallies to save those schools and those families from pain. Why? Because as adults we realize there are hard truths and even harder decisions about what we do as a district. If anyone wants to make these closures or this SAP the central storyline for their child's childhood, that's their decision. But it might be a good teaching moment about not always getting what we believe is fair because sometimes decisions are greater than one family and about the greater good.
Did anyone else attend? Did you stay for the Q&A with Tracy?