Please note: I may go out of order of what was said when to group like items.
Dr. Goodloe-Johnson went over a lot of backstory on the SAP but did say a couple of interesting things about "first implementation steps".
- She said that they need to gather information about incoming kindergarten siblings. I'm guessing that means how many there are for next year and possibly after.
- They have to "complete transportation eligibility analysis". Again, figuring out who gets transportation where. (Someone asked about an analysis of how we save any money on transportation under the new SAP but it will take several years to realize it. I can't see how they could anytime soon.)
- Fall 2010 opening Sand Point, McDonald and Old Hay with Rainier View and Viewlands to follow. This is a bit of a change because it seemed they wanted to open all of them at once from previous timelines. So I'm a bit confused about RV and Viewlands still being on the map.
- Program placement decisions (although as Charlie pointed out, elsewhere in the document, it says "program placement process is changing" without any discussion). Again, danger William Robinson!
- Early registration is extended to January 15th
Director Sundquist asked about Spectrum being added at Madison and if that meant Spectrum additions elsewhere and Dr. G-J said yes with no embellishment.
Tracy said they had received 1000s of suggestions for the boundaries. Tracy explained that out of the 58 elementary schools, 48 had boundary modifications.
Dr. Enfield said, from the academic side, they were looking at 3 quality issues.
- investing and sustaining strong principals
- quality instruction
- quality materials and programs
Michael De Bell said that he wanted to give a shout-out to staff for their volunteer hours at the boundary meetings. He said that he found the feedback more valuable than much Board testimony (not dissing the testimony but he liked the feedback at these meetings).
Tracy addressed a common concern from input from the community about walk zones. Why am I assigned School A when School B is closer? She said that because the City was discontinuing funding for the crossing guards in Fall 2010 that they had to create the safest boundaries they could. (Whether they did is open for question depending on where you live.) The district hopes to find funding for crossing guards but until then, they had to try to create the safest walk zones.
Steve S. suggested calling them smaller or retracted walk zones rather than "conservative" walk zones for clarity.
Sherry came back to the issue of the shrinkage of Hale's area. She kept asking, "What changed?" Tracy said it wasn't done artificially for a program but for balance. Sherry said she thought she might get some positive feedback from some on this but not others. (And I agree. It looks very odd. Also, kids on the west side of Green Lake won't be walking around Green Lake to get to school.)
Sherry also asked Tracy about a rumor that the 10% of Open Choice seats at Ingraham would be for IB students. Tracy said there is no distinction about who gets Open Choice seats by any program.
Steve S. offered thanks for the support for the co-location of Denny and Sealth and alignment of those boundaries.
Tracy got asked about including the capacity at Option Schools in the plan and said they had done that for Option schools across the district.
Peter brought up the issue of the changes for Sand Point saying that walking is difficult on Sand Point Way. Tracy said the new boundaries accounted for that issue.
Then Harium brought up the point about people being concerned about the F/RL percentage at Sand Point. (Tracy said the new boundaries would lower it but didn't say by how much.) He said that there is UW married student housing in that area and so that is a sometimes changing population. As well he said that there are many other schools in our district with far higher F/RL populations.
I would gently refute his points. One, that married graduate housing population will always be there. Yes, those grad students will have different incomes but that housing will always be there. Also, the issue isn't really what the reality is throughout the district in terms of higher F/RL than 30%. The reality is that you are trying to create a new school and get people to want to be there. If the population has a F/RL size that is totally out of whack with the rest of the NE elementaries, you handicap that school from the start in both perception and reality.
It seems, from Tracy's remarks, that Old Hay is definitely going to be an Option School. I make this point because some in the community had suggested a regular K-5 and I don't think that is an option from the district's standpoint because of the nearness of Coe.
So then they got into the McDonald question which was an interesting discussion. Clearly, very clearly, the district wants McDonald open at all costs. And I think the Board is drinking the Kool-aid so I would call this one done.
Tracy said they got "new" data on increased growth in the McDonald area. (This is after Director Carr, at the BTA III levy work session, said that she didn't see reopening the school for 135 kids. And now, voila! more kids. Interesting.) It seems like her argument is to open McDonald to ease pressure, now and in the future, on the other schools.
Tracy said that having McDonald would ease crowding elsewhere and, as a topper, that it could (might) allow grandfathering of siblings. Really? I'm hoping she means this as grandfathering siblings is now really on the table. She said opening McDonald would open up 90 more seats for out of attendance students at JSIS.
Then Sherry gave a long talk about her walk through McDonald with Kathy Johnson and other facilities staff. She said it is beautiful old building but that she was quite taken aback at its poor interior condition. She said the paint is peeling, the boiler bad, the elevator sketchy, etc. She said the work to be done is not extravagant but really needed. However, she said she was startled that this was considered an "emergency" school because she could not imagine putting kids into it as is.
(Yes and this is all part of that big Maintenance puzzle I keep harping on for the BTA III. So if there was an emergency at a school that necessitated moving out a population, where would they go? As it turns out, not to McDonald which is completely undermaintained. That would have been a terrible thing to find out if there were an emergency and what would the district say then? Sorry. We claim to maintain the buildings but really we don't?)
Oddly, Sherry then said that the case is not "overwhelming" to reopen McDonald BUT there is not a clear idea where to put these kids (about 135 I believe). That's when she waxed on about McDonald becoming a foreign language school and that the idea had been to have at least 2 feeder elementary language schools for each middle language school. Great, fine but where is the vision? Where do they go and what do they get in high school? No questions asked here and mute silence when they do get asked from the staff. Don't create more of these schools if you have no vision for the entire program. (See APP.)