Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Board Meeting Tonight

The speakers list for the Board meeting tonight is full. (I'm speaking near the top of the list but it has me down for the SAP and I'm speaking on the BTA.) There are 5 of us on the list who are regulars and interestingly, there are 5 people from the Sharples family speaking, probably asking why their family name is being moved to another school and why there is a motion to postpone this vote.

Directors Bass and Martin-Morris will be introducing amendments. Here is Director Bass':

1. I move to amend that the attendance area boundary for Stevens Elementary School be those set forth in the attached.

Rationale: The current eastern boundary for Stevens Elementary School should be retained.
2. I move to designate Madrona K-8 as an option school.

I don't know enough whether number one is good. With number two, her rationale is all over the place. Here's the last paragraph:

"Our priority should be to serve the families at the school. Over half of the families live within a mile of the school. Some of the families are concerned that if it becomes an option school, neighborhood families won’t be able to attend. Some of the families are concerned that if it is an attendance area school, central area families who want a K-8 will not be served."

Families (obviously) can't have it both ways. So someone will be unhappy. Whatever the answer, we all know that Madrona would likely have even more neighborhood families if their program wasn't so rigid and the principal was more welcoming to new ideas.

Martin-Morris Amendment;

"I move to amend the Bryant and View Ridge attendance area boundaries to incorporate the area south of Northeast 68th Street between 34th Avenue Northeast and 40th Avenue Northeast into the Bryant attendance area. The north side of Northeast 68th Street will be in the View Ridge attendance area and the south side Northeast 68th Street will be in the Bryant attendance area, while the east side of 40th Avenue Northeast will be in View Ridge attendance area and the west side of 40th Ave Northeast will be in the Bryant attendance area.

Rationale: If passed, it is anticipated that the Executive Committee’s amendment to adjust the McDonald attendance area boundary will create additional projected capacity at Bryant. There are 19 students projected to live south of Northeast 68th Street between 34th Avenue and 40th Avenue North in 2015. A portion of this area is not in the walk zone for either View Ridge or Bryant. If this amendment and the Executive Committee’s amendment pass, it is projected that View Ridge will be at functional capacity and Bryant will be 5 students over functional capacity. It is anticipated that a projection of 5 students over functional capacity will likely have minimal impact."

I don't have much to say here because again, I don't know this area well. What do other parents think?

I guess I wish I could know what moved some Board members to create amendments while others didn't. Meaning, what swayed their thinking?

39 comments:

adhoc said...

"I guess I wish I could know what moved some Board members to create amendments while others didn't. "

The two directors that put forth amendments are the two directors that seem to be most responsive to their communities. And, they have proven time and time again that they are not afraid to speak up, and push back against staff when they see fit.

That is why I'm sad to see Mary go. I know many think she was inefective (and at times I did too), but she was never afraid to ask questions, offer amendments, vote no, and respectfully push back against staff (when she felt it appropriate). I will really miss Mary on the board.

TechyMom said...

This is a perfect example of the problem with Mary. The right solution at the wrong time. The time for this was in the summer when it wouldn't require redrawing all the boundaries in Central, which is already overcrowded after closures. It's too much of an impact for the day of the vote. If she had proposed it in the summer, she would have had a lot more support from neighborhood families. I think she might even have won her election if she had proposed this earlier. I know I would have voted for her.

Maureen said...

Can anyone parse out this paragraph for me?

"Our priority should be to serve the families at the school. Over half of the families live within a mile of the school. Some of the families are concerned that if it becomes an option school, neighborhood families won’t be able to attend. Some of the families are concerned that if it is an attendance area school, central area families who want a K-8 will not be served.

So if some think the former (1) and some think the latter (2), and your goal is to serve all of their needs, why is the solution a proposal that some of them don't want? Did she take a survey? Are there more some2s than some1s?

Actually, I would argue that our priority is to serve all of the people in the District now and into the future. Not only "the families at the school" right now. No other school is being served this way. The transition plan will to some extent, but not the SAP.

If she thinks that all K-8s should be Option schools (not a bad idea), she should have worked with the other Directors this summer and submitted a proposal that Madrona, Blaine and Broadview- Thompson all be Option schools, along with the new attendance area boundaries that that would make necessary.

And did anyone look at the attached Stevens map? It is just the old reference area map--including the new Lowell reference area--there isn't even a hand drawn line to indicate where her new proposed boundary is, let alone an analysis of its impact on enrollment at Steven or the surrounding schools.

Do her constituents really think she is helping? She must know that these are empty gestures?

Robert said...

adhoc I often agree with you but not on this one. Responsive? Mary has never responded to a single email from myself as well as many others... Even those sent to confirm the location of her community meeting and some sent to her campaign email. Sherry had to offer an amendment so that families living in Mary's district and across the street from Lowell weren't bussed 5 miles away to TM... Oh and Mary voted against it! Funny considering that she is now attempting to amend the plan so that a student could go to a school closer to their neighborhood. I think it should make sense in both cases.

Also, standing up against the staff yeah... but IMO she spent the first part of the closure meetings fawning over MGJ and then the remainder. Yuck! ... you saw that right?

Robert said...

Yeah Maureen exactly... One correction on the maps though: The old one includes an additional few blocks... Instead of terminating on 23rd it goes down to 26th in the part that is drawn in.

Speaking of maps... Anyone know why there is no walk route map for Lowell posted?

dj said...

Ineffective doesn't begin to cover it. How the heck does Mary presume to know what the "neighborhood" wants from Madrona? What surveys has she taken? What Madrona K-8 assignment area meetings has she convened to find out what the neighborhood wants?

Because from living in the neighborhood, I can tell you three things. One, yes, news to noone, many people in the neighborhood do not wish to attend Madrona on its current model/with its current administration. Two, however, many parents would very much like to have a walking-distance school that they could attend, and would have as their proposed solution "change the current program." And three, for parents who might be comfortable with Madrona as an option school because they wouldn't like to go there in its current incarnation, they often give you wildly different answers about whether or not Madrona should be an option school based on whether they would then be assigned to McGilvra/Stevens or whether then would then be assigned to Leschi/Bailey Gatzert.

Plus, let's face it. There are families in the central cluster who would love love love additional option program access, since TOPS always has a waitlist a mile long. But they haven't been beating down the door for the model at Madrona, even though anyone who wants to go there -- even from out of district -- can do so. Madrona K-8 Language Immersion? Sign me up for that.

I'd be livid about the amendment if I thought there was any chance it actually would pass.

blumhagn said...

I wish I could know what moved some Board members to create amendments while others didn't. Meaning, what swayed their thinking?

I can't pretend to know what's going on in a Director's head, but here's one possibility.

Each Director has two options for getting an amendment made. The first is to propose their own (Bass and Martin-Morris). The second is to get their amendment into the amendments proposed by the Executive Committee (4 other boundary changes).

I would expect that the Executive Committee amendment has a much better chance of passage than an individual amendment, so if your desired change has broad enough support to make it into the EC amendment, or you sit on the EC, then this is a better way to go. I don't think we can tell who proposed the individual changes in the EC amendment.

So if I'm the District I Director and I want to get a change to the Loyal Heights boundary, I would probably try to get it into the EC amendment first, then propose my own amendment if my change didn't make it to EC. The change is more likely to get made, even if it doesn't have my name on it.

The problem with the EC amendments is that I'm sure the EC wants to have a solid majority behind their amendment before it goes to press. Therefore, it's much harder to make controversial amendments like Bass' "let's change everything at the last minute" amendment.

Again, I don't know if Peter Maier proposed the Loyal Heights boundary change, or what the actual process was in this case. This is purely hypothetical speculation.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Bass' amendment about Madrona makes no sense at all.

First, who would attend the school if it were an Option school who isn't already attending the school? Answer: no one. Because the school is under-enrolled it is essentially an all-city draw school immediately available for any student who chooses to enroll there. And yet it is under-enrolled, which shows that it cannot justify the use of the space for that purpose.

Who would LEAVE the school if it were an Option school? A whole lot of neighborhood folks who would take their assignment to Leschi or McGilvra or wherever else the District assigned them.

Director Bass says that the school needs to serve the students that are in it. That's not in dispute. Why does the school need to be an Option school in order to do that? Why wouldn't the school serve the students that are in it if it were an attendance area school? Oh, yeah, right, because the leadership of that school has determined the profile of the students that they want to serve and they are NOT serving the students in the school who don't fit the profile.

As for K-8 schools being Option schools, that simply isn't the case at Blaine or Broadview-Thomson and it does not need to be the case at Madrona.

I liked the way that she suggested that it was somehow unfair for the north end and the south end to each have two option schools while the central area has only one. Only the north-end includes four middle school service areas, the south-end (is she including West Seattle it this?) includes four middle school service areas and the central area is only one middle school service area. That was a cute bit of statistical manipulation.

Charlie Mas said...

The Board meeting tonight includes the Capacity Management Policy which includes a grave mistake. It directs the superintendent to match capacity to enrollment instead of demand. This is just wrong. It is wrong in three ways:

1. It neglects any community that is not a geographic community. It is a huge smackdown for alternative schools and all programs other than general education.

2. It doesn't prescribe expansion of programs with unmet demand. If there are 220 students who want a program but only 180 seats, the capacity (180) matches the enrollment (180) because the capacity defines the upper limit of the enrollment. Matching capacity to enrollment doesn't make it clear that the capacity of this program needs to be expanded to meet the demand.

3. In that same program the superintendent could actually REDUCE the capacity and it would STILL match the enrollment.

Also, while the Policy directs the superintendent to monitor demand, her superintendent procedure doesn't make any mention of it. So regardless of what the Board tells her to do, she is going to do whatever she wants to do.

Cade said...

I live in the area effected by the Brant amendment. My wife really and our neighbor really spearheaded getting that amendment passed. The main issue to us was being able to walk to school. A larger area than what is included in the amendment was actually included in the Bryant area in the first version of the attendance area plan. For reasons we can only speculate at it was removed in the second version.

Trying to get this amendment added was a frustrating experience. It was never clear that anything would be done until the amendment was discovered on the schools website late last night. All the petitioning we did mostly thru email and attending and speaking at the public meeting resulted in one or two emails saying our concerns were being forwarded to the appropriate audience.

So I wouldn't call Martin-Morris a model of responsiveness but at least at this point I can hardly criticize him. Ask me tomorrow how I feel.

TechyMom said...

Months ago, I supported making Madrona an option school for the simple reason that option programs can be moved. Give the current program a chance to fill the building. If it doesn't in, say, 2 years, move it someplace smaller and repurpose the building as an attendance area school with a more mainstream program and a principal who is interested in working with the families in the neighborhood.

But, honestly, it's way too late. The boundaries are drawn. There are no more feedback meetings. The option hasn't been researched. Everyone just wants this done. Too little, too late. Classic Mary.

Which makes me sad, becuase I do like the way she speaks up, and I often agree with her.

dj said...

Quick question -- when is the vote on the proposed amendments?

G said...

Since the Madrona neighborhood is used to the idea of not having a neighborhood school, there is not a loud protest anywhere, or even much awareness of, the potential to have a neighborhood school taken away from Madrona tonight. This idea has been brewing, as those who follow SPS know, but for most Madrona families that have learned to accomodate living in a neighborhood without a neighborhood school option, it is just more business as usual. Except, no mention has been made of where the families within the new SAP Madrona boundaries will be guaranteed placement if Madrona K-8 becomes an option program. The insanely great thing is that while we have always had predictability here in Madrona, to a school that does not meet the needs of much of the neighborhood, now we might get a guaranteed enrollment at Bailey Gatzert! It might have room, which McGilvra, Stevens and Leschi, with the new Montessori program, do not.

Under the old system of choice, at least Madrona families could stay in the public schools by choosing another public school that met their child's academic and social needs better than the program at Madrona K-8. The new SAP does not allow this kind of choice. Sadly, I'm hearing many distressed Madrona parents of young kids seriously talking about moving. it's unbelievable that this neighborhood, crawling with young kids, isn't given a chance to have a neighborhood school. It would be a successful, diverse school with a committed volunteer base. It could organically become a TOPS II in a few years. But now a proposal to continue serving the current students (most not from the neighborhood) in the underenrolled building? It's confusing and frustrating.

Oh - and could we incent MGJ to leave by not giving her the performance bonus?

Cade said...

I believe the vote on the amendments is tonight. Details on the agenda are here.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, the vote on the amendments is tonight. They vote on the boundaries and the amendments to the boundaries.

yumpears said...

FYI the West Seattle Blog just posted an update on Sundquist's position out in West Seattle.

http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22478#more-22478

I think WV know more than I do = foolag

Maggie Hooks said...

Madrona neighbors really want a neighborhood school. This is a great parting gift from MB, but not surprising, as she never cared what we wanted.

emeraldkity said...

What the h*? I even skipped my class tonight to go to the board meeting and it starts at 4:30pm?

I admit I have not been able to go to the reg meetings- but why did they move it so early>

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, there is an executive session at 4:30-5:30, a break and the Board meeting starts at 6 p.m.

dadof3 said...

I'm confused, were the final numbers at bryant 5 over or 19 over capacity? Please tell me we didn't just add a big chunk to bryant from VR after all the capacity issues we've had there?

FHS85 said...

They said Bryant over by 19, and that does not include the siblings.

Kirkaldy said...

dadof3,

We are now over by 19 at Bryant because of the amendment to move a portion of an area that had been switched over into View Ridge back into the Bryant Reference area.

Cade,

If you are the same Cade who spoke at the board meeting tonight, I just want to point out that you played an extremely dirty trick on the Ravenna Park Neighborhood by encouraging the board to adopt an amendment that was tacked on in the eleventh hour (literally, just this past Monday afternoon), that moved the southern portion of this neighborhood into the McDonald reference area.

In case you didn't look at what was being proposed, you were encouraging the school board to change our assignment to a school that is one-and-a-half miles away and requires that we cross I-5. I don't want your child to have to be bussed when they could walk. Why would you advocate that for mine?

Things have been touch and go in our neighborhood for years and downright awful in the U-District based on the fact that that the schools that were historically within walking distance had been shut down. People have been sent every which where, all based on the idea that people that are closest to the school should get the first pick. While this may sound reasonable to you, given that you are half a mile from Bryant and no more than a mile from View Ridge (since Bryant and View Ridge are just a mile and a half apart from each other), it creates grossly disproportionate consequences for the children in neighborhoods without a lot of schools.

I don't blame you for wanting to make this argument, but just know that it is not as morally clear as you might think. The consequence of the favoring of proximity above all other concerns has had the effect of pushing children from underserved neighborhoods further and further away from their communities.

The funny thing is, our concerns were heard, and so were yours. Bryant is over capacity, which isn't great, but who knows how accurate the numbers are that they are working with. Take home lesson - you don't have to throw another neighborhood under the bus in order to get what you want.

NE Parent said...

Yes, Bryant over by 19 and View Ridge at 100% capacity. The district could have easily had more space by putting part of the current Bryant boundary at Laurelhurst, which is projected to be 30%, or 105 seats, underenrolled. This is by the District's own numbers. Why the District didn't relieve some pressure on Bryant and View Ridge by adding to Laurelhurst is really unclear.

Cade said...

Kirkaldy, Your anger is misdirected at me. I simply suggested that the move created additional capacity that would be an argument for allowing us back into the Bryant area. For all I know the residents of that area requested the change. If that wasn't the case then congratulations on reverting the proposal.

If you don't think I was just as steamrolled by this process as anyone suggests you just don't know what is going on. To go even further to suggest I had employed some "dirty tricks" is so utterly overstate my ability to influence the situation as to be humorous.

Welcome back to the neighborhood neighbor.

dadof3 said...

It is pretty unnerving that this amendment got pushed through when it seemed that Harium didn't even understand the area he was advocating for. If I am not mistaken looking at these streets, he was incorrect when he said it's 3 blocks from Bryant or that it's only across one arterial. I don't want to cast judgement on another neighborhood's situation (nor would I presume to speak on it to the Board to try to advance my own argument), but not doing a thorough analysis of the best use of new capacity at Bryant (which didn't actually end up existing anyway), and not seeking to balance this boundary change with some other change that would alleviate pressure at Bryant (Bryant can't take portables!) makes this process feel like families are getting scammed.

Kirkaldy said...

Cade,

Don't be dishonest. By the time you were speaking, my neighborhood had already presented our case saying that this hadn't been vetted with us at all, that we had been given no chance to respond, and that we opposed the amendment. We were pretty clear.

Nevertheless, in your presentation, you explicitly encouraged the board to adopt the executive board amendment because, I am assuming, that you felt your own amendment was depending it.

KSG said...

Kirkaldy, if I understand what I've seen and read, it looks like you just joined our neighborhood... the ones thrown under the bus (both metro and yellow!) :-\

Cade said...

I'll readily admit to being self-serving. I'm not Gandhi. But you're not exactly elevating yourself to sainthood by attacking me.

Maybe you didn't know but my area was removed from Bryant presumably to add some other area, but I don't really know why. I don't blame people for advocating for their area. But to advocate for your area without understanding that someone else is going to be effected is naive. Maybe the anonymity makes it easier.

Before you start casting stones you should look at the situation from all angles. All the amendments were published and as we all understand, the removal of your area makes the addition of mine easier. Why did you then continue to advocate for your neighborhood? Why'd you throw our amendment "under the bus?" If we had spoken first last night would you have changed your speech? I'll forgive you if you weren't thinking about how your position effected us.

I don't feel like I'm any different from you or that I did anything different than you did or would do. Like everyone we are advocating for our own selfish goals.

But I feel this conversation is pointless. There is still the big sibling challenge to resolve not to mention the ongoing work of building and supporting a great school.

Kirkaldy said...

KSG

Are you from the U-District or Ravenna Park area, or somewhere else within the never never land that doesn't have any schools nearby? If so, it's true that we've been thrown under the same yellow bus. I live in a neighborhood that has been part of the Bryant neighborhood for 30 years.

The issue that had me consulting the blogosphere was that for the entire time that this student assignment plan was under public discussion, my neighborhood was part of the Bryant reference area, and happily so. On Monday afternoon at 3pm an amendment appeared out of nowhere (well actually, out of the executive committee, but seemingly out of nowhere from the perspective of my neighborhood) that moved us into McDonald. No rationale was given for this last minute change other than the idea that it would take Bryant from being at capacity to being 14 seats under capacity. We were all flabbergasted because it seemed like an extremely arbitrary reason to spring a big change on a pretty small area at the very last minute. In other words, we couldn't figure out why we were being singled out for special treatment at a time when all public commentary was pretty much past.

And then, on Tuesday, a second amendment appeared that suggested that there was now room to move another neighborhood from View Ridge into Bryant. This neighborhood had been included in Bryant in the first version of the plan and then had been moved to View Ridge in the second. Like us, they have been in Bryant up until now.

The thing that made me angry was not so much that they were advocating for their neighborhood - everybody does that, you'd be foolish not to. And it is natural that there might be competing interests. They could have said that they supported the amendment that affected their neighborhood and left it at that, but they went out of their way to also support the other amendment too, the one that we had spoken out against just a few speakers before. That, in short, is what I saw as a dirty trick.

In the end, I just really wish that their was a school that was closer to my neighborhood so that I wasn't at the mercy of other people's perceptions of whether or not my neighborhood "belongs" at Bryant.

Kirkaldy said...

Oops, Cade and I are overlapping, so I need to make two points of clarification -

KSG - my neighborhood was successful in their lobby and so we will be staying at Bryant rather than being switched to McDonald. Last night an amendment was proposed to the amendment eliminating the last-minute change that was being suggested.

Cade - I didn't speak out against the amendment that affected your neighborhood. This is precisely the point that I wanted to make. You can advocate for your neighborhood without specifically asking them to make a negative-impact decision regarding mine.

BryantLynn said...

Kirklady, I agree you have totally missed the point. When you lobby for yourself, you are lobbying against someone else. Plain and simple. By your own admission, you have no neighborhood school (meaning Bryant isn't your neighborhood school.) By requesting that you remain in an overcapacity school that isn't in your neighborhood, you automatically take seats away from those who can actually claim it as their neighborhood school.
Here is an exchange from Harium's blog where he warns that if he puts some people in, he will have to take others out:

I live in the small portion of Bryant neighborhood that is carved out to become Laurelhurst / Hamilton in the new assignment plan, 4 houses south of NE 50th St. I am writing because I believe carving out this part of the neighborhood and separating it is harmful to our kids and to community involvement. I am asking you to advocate to reinclude our neighborhood in this area as it is the community we are a part of and move the southern boundary of the Bryant /Eckstein reference area to Sandpoint Way and NE Blakeley.
October 7, 2009 4:00 PM

Harium said...
Dear NE Parent from 10/7 at 4:00 PM
We are looking to see if we can make some changes to the lines and still keep the entire system in balance. ,Any changes we make will effect other place and that is what make this work so difficult. ,
November 1, 2009 7:11 AM

Kirkaldy said...

Bryant Lynn,

I'm sorry to hear that you have also been affected by issue of over capacity.

You are twisting my words about neighborhood to suit your purpose, however. There are several different "neighborhoods" that comprise the larger neighborhood that attends Bryant. The lines between them are sometimes fuzzy and and sometimes hard, but I think that if Bryant is the school that is by far the closest school to the neighborhood that you live in, that you might reasonably have some claim to consider Bryant your neighborhood's school.

What is your criteria for someone who is "actually" in the neighborhood. Aren't you simply advocating to go to the school that is closest to you as well?

BryantLynn said...

Actually, yes I am advocating to go to the school closest to you. I thought that was part of the concept of a neighborhood school. To get the people living around the school. To get the community support around the school.

Unfortunately you can't give everyone their closes school because of capacity issues. My response is to take the closest people first and go out in concentric circles. I understand there are large arterials and topography issues (Magnusson Park and Sand Point for example.)

Another example in the Bryant area of people very close that didn't get in are those south of 65th and east of 40th. Well within walking distance, yet are off to Sand Point.

I just think the Board made bad decisions by not getting out to the community to know the neighborhoods and topography. They had a very opaque process by which they set the boundaries that often time to the public had no rhyme or reason. They only had 15 days between v2 and the vote. They only had 3 days or even 1 day between the amendments and the vote. A great disservice.

I advocate that people be upset with the Board and be vocal about the process, not with each other. You can disagree with others, but to start attacking them is not furthering your situation or theirs.

The transition process is coming up and I hope all concerns will be focused on the Board.

dadof3 said...

Jaybird, here-here!
And speaking for myself, I am disgusted by the manner in which the board did their analysis of the bryant boundaries. The consideration given to it last night with the 2c amendment was a joke. The only director who said he had been through the area that day voted no. The capacity issue was raised and ignored based on flawed logic that stemmed from self serving 'i deserve bryant' arguments and no matter that kids get to go to class on the stage and eat lunch in 15 min. At what point does it become not worth it to push your case at the expense of other families or the school? Maybe you were taken out of your option A (closest) school, but you have an option B (that is deemed by the people that have the data and the maps to not impose an unreasonable burden) that other families don't have. Sure, maybe you personally don't want to accept their definition of the burden but they can't please everyone. It seemed like the board was making those hard choices and then the redraws and Harium's amendment chickened out. Shrink the area, get rid of my street--fine. Just create a sustainable plan for each school.

BryantLynn said...

Last point I'll make is that Sherry Carr could have made the Bryant area smaller, and she didn't. If you are talking about making it smaller, regardless of other amendments, she originally intended to do so.

Kirkaldy said...

Yes, it is exactly the capacity (I made the mistake of saying overcapacity problems in my last post - it is under capacity but over enrollment) that makes the issue of proximity prickly.

The reason that I don't support the idea that the closest families to a school should get automatic priority at that school is that it has unintended consequences.

This is how it works: Bryant is my closest school. You are closer to Bryant, so you get priority over me, the next person on the list is closer to Laurelhurst so they get priority over me at Laurelhurst, the next person on list is closer to Wedgewood, so they get priority over me at Wedgewood, and so on. The effect of this is that a select group of children get sent to school miles away from their home - before the creation of McDonald, it was the case that children from the U District were routinely assigned to John Rogers based on this system.

Even with the self-interest that we all admit to having in these matters, I can't believe that anyone would see this as being fair.

The alternative, which also creates sticky situations, is that you start out with the assumption that you will try to get all students to a school that is within a mile from their home. I'm not saying that this is how the assignment system has worked, I'm just saying that some benchmark like this could have come into play. This might mean, as has happened to the neighborhood north of 65th, that you are not sent to the school that is closest to you but you are still sent to a school that is within a mile of your home.

While this presents an inconvenience and would certainly feel counterintuitive if you were only looking at it from the perspective one student at a time, it is pretty clear that this system has the potential to enable every child to be sent to a school that is within a broadly understood range of proximity.

And again, just to be clear about what was on the line for my neighborhood last night: we were asking that the board reject a very last-minute amendment to the plan that switched our neighborhood from Bryant to McDonald. It simply didn't make sense that after a ton of community process where thousands and thousands of people had a chance to respond to the changes that were being proposed that we were just being switched over as an afterthought. Within the amendment proposing this change there was not one single reason given for making this change (again, this was on Monday afternoon). Had this change been requested by the neighborhood or had it appeared in any of the publicly discussed versions of the plan, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as big a deal as it was.

It was also a little insulting because it was targeted to the degree that it was just a small community that was affected, but whoever had written it didn't know the neighborhood - they got all of the place names wrong, but just close enough to see what they were talking about and then they included a graphic of the "area of interest" that didn't at all make it clear what the change entailed.

So, in essence, we went there last night to point out how bizarre and out of sync this amendment was in its timing, its goals, and its effects. So if you mean that Director Carr could have kept Bryant enrollment down by accepting this deeply flawed last-minute amendment, it is true that she didn't do that. At the same time, she did vote against the Martin-Morris amendment, the crux of that discussion, in addition to the issue of proximity, being whether View Ridge or Bryant was better able to handle being overenrolled by 19 "seats".

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kids, kids.

Bryant Lynn, do keep in mind that the district never, ever said your attendance area school would be your "closest" school. That's part of the problem because many people thought it was whatever school was closest to their house. (I know you got this but they really never said it.)

The concentric circles were part of the OLD plan so it was pretty unlikely they'd use them again (even if it made sense because the next thing you know people would want to use...distance). I agree the district and the Board don't know these neighborhoods as well as parents on the ground. I feel like Steve certainly did and did advocate for some changes.

BryantLynn said...

We are talking about boundary criteria, not assignment criteria. These are two different things. These are the clearly stated criteria for elementary boundaries (all weighted equally):
Proximity of students to school
Safe walk zones
Efficient bus routes
Demographics
Opportunities for diversity
Physical barriers

My opinion is that almost all parts of "Bryant" are equal, except in the first, proximity. Am I incorrect or do you have a different opinion?

Heather C. said...

Speaking of Bryant, after all of the talk about hard decisions and ripple effects and having to trade one area for another to balance the numbers (see BryantLynn 11/19 @ 12:07), it is confusing that the rationale for the Martin-Morris amendment (the 14 seats freed up in the EC amendment) didn't come to fruition, but the directors voted for the M-M amendment anyway. If the 'crux of that discussion was whether View Ridge or Bryant was better able to handle being overenrolled by 19 seats', how much thought did the Board give to the question? I'm just wondering if they feel that Bryant and VR are equivalent in their ability to deal with oversubscription.