I'll be blunt - I think the district is growing and will continue to grow. We have a new student assignment plan that added another layer of complexity to that growth. What that means to some schools is that they are going to have to man up and buck up. Portables, using your school's stage, whatever can get you through the next 3-5 years. I believe the district has sympathy for these schools but really, they've got bigger problems. Somebody once said that "change is hard" and my friends, that means you get to be the ones to suffer through this change.
Kathy Johnson of Facilities went through the presentation at a fairly rapid clip. They did have the "current" definition of Functional Capacity on page 4, slide 8 and the explanation for fluctuations on page 5, slide 9. Those reasons are:
- NSAP transitional plan changes (which means in about year 5 this one should not matter)
- Academic Assurances and Five-year Plan roll out (program delivery model changes) - again, this should not be changing a lot at some point. (I pause here to say that with rotating superintendents, you get new plans. Dr. G-J promptly dropped the Five-Year Plan set up by the previous Board and created the Strategic Planning. This continuing changing of programming really impacts both the actual architectural planning of schools and then, how they end up being used after they are built.)
- Main difference between the 2015 FC and 2010 FC: 2015 was based on the anticipated programs and services in 2015 and 2010 represented the current ones.
2010-2011 Capacity and Enrollment (slide 11) shows K-5 at 104% of "capacity utilized." I do not know the difference between "available capacity" and "functional capacity." If someone heard this at the meeting (or knows), please tell us but they seem to be two different things. For 6-8, it's at 85%. For 9-12, it's at 95%. Overall for the district, it's at 97%.
They then say by next year K-5 will be down to 102%. The other grade levels will stay about the same. But this projection for 2011-12 notes at the bottom "Includes Rainier View, Viewlands and 400 seats in portables added in 2011". I know that many parents out there do not like portables being counted as that then solidifies them in the school landscape. (But hey, Green Lake has had theirs since the '70s and Eckstein probably just as long.)
We get to the 2012-16 Capacity and Projections (slide 13) and boy, what to do? Elementary, 120%; 6-8, 95%; 9-12, 100%; with district-wide being at 108%.
Keep in mind BEX IV will be voted on in Feb. 2013. If they go for a levy, they don't get the money until 2014. The earliest you might get a new building would be mid-late 2015. (If they did a bond election, they would get the money all at once. Problem is they need 60% for a bond and it makes it a harder bar to jump over). So don't look for BEX IV to bring any real relief (if passed) until maybe 2016.
The Directors had some comments:
- Michael and Kay both commented on the BEX IV planning. Michael confirmed that this year's enrollment numbers will be the ones used for BEX IV planning. The schedule they handed out indicates that Oct. 2011 will be the time for community input. Kay thought that was too late and believes outreach should start sooner. Kathy agreed and said a calendar would get set up for that to happen.
- Steve pointed out that there are real issues in West Seattle.
- Sherry suggested repurposing some BTA dollars. (My take is: NO. That maintenance has got to get done. It will only hurt us to postpone work that has already been postponed.)
- Michael asked about computer labs being used for PCP time but Kathy Johnson said there was an issue around MAP so they are being set aside from functional capacity. (Dorothy, can you help me out here with this explanation?)
Where's Garfield? View Ridge? Lafayette? Schmitz Park? Staff says the principals got to decide how to count the space and so some of these don't count as "surge capacity." For example, Lafayette kept a PE room as PCP space and so worked out their own surge capacity. There is not a mandate for principals to use space as district thinks they might. If they want to run larger class sizes "that's the prerogative of the principals." Garfield isn't there because Kathy said they use "different techniques for class size" and that Garfield had options and didn't really use surge capacity methods. Oh.
What I want to ask you for is input. If you are at a school that is overenrolled (and you know if you are) and you aren't on the district's "surge capacity" list, please let us know. I want to compile a list and give it to the Board. Here's why. There has got to be some record that in 2010-2011 this is a list of schools that were overenrolled. It doesn't matter what the district's "measure" is. In 10 years you could have people look at the district's list and they would say, "Well, it wasn't that many schools." when yes, it was.
The range of "utilization" goes from Gatewood at 116% to Bagley at 103%. They had a category of "method to cope with overcrowding" and those range from "used the stage as classroom" to "used conference rooms for small classes" to "used RVs to accommodate staff" (my personal favorite with apologies to Bagley who had to use this method - they now have portables).
More Director comments:
- Michael asked a great question for which he never got an answer. He simply wanted to know what percentage of students leave during the year. Tracy went on some circular story. DeBell said thanks but that wasn't my question. It got complicated because technically under the NSAP, you can't change schools after Sept. 30th.
- Sherry asked for the metrics as spreadsheets and Tracy said this could be done.
- Kay asked quite an all-star question, "What is the most fiscally efficient thing we could do for capacity management?" Kathy said they had done the analysis here but had done it for school closures. She said it was hard because you really had to do it on a case-by-case basis. Then, there was the astonishing statement that they assume "Option Schools are full and adjust the geozone to guarantee that." What? Why? (Sadly, no follow-up.)
There will be another Work Session on April 6th to discuss all of those issues. Another Work Session is also scheduled for May 18th. The Board will introduce and then vote on the various aspects of capacity management in June 2011. If you have any thoughts, do bring them up now because, well, tick tock.