Here is the Excel sheet for the options for the NE middle school situation. My understanding is it is a combo of ideas from staff and FACMAC.
During the Work Session the discussion went as follows:
- They were first discussing what appeared in the presentation and what FACMAC was recommending. FACMAC was recommending an Eckstein split - North and South Annexes. Director Peaslee clarified that this was really a split and not a temporary annexation. The answer was yes.
- There was also this discussion about Jane Addams and beefing up its middle school offerings to fill the school. (They called this "mitigation.") But, as Director DeBell pointed out, how long could that go on and how could the district afford it? (And, if they did this for JA, why not all K-8s?)
- One interesting thing is how the district seems very committed to making sure that Eckstein North would have the same things as Eckstein South. Phil Brockman spoke of the great music at Eckstein now and how they would have to find a "great" music teacher for Eckstein North. Which is great but are we making sure ALL schools with music offerings have the same kind of attention?
- Director Carr pointed out that even if the district committed to mitigation to beef up JA's enrollment, wouldn't it go away? The answer was yes.
- There was also input from staff about how unhappy people are with the situation at Eckstein. Pegi McEvoy said the students couldn't make through the lunchlines. Now, I have absolutely no doubt that is wildly true at Eckstein but there are MANY middle and high schools in this district with the same situation. There has to be a better reason for change than that one.
- McEvoy also said annexing would be problematic because of CBA issues. This gets cloudy in the later discussion as you can see.
- Both DeBell and Carr, towards the end, spoke up more forcefully. Carr said they can't have schools with empty seats when others are overcrowded (speaking of JA). DeBell also weighed in about not being able to have the same offerings for the 6-8 experience at a K-8 as for a comprehensive middle school. It sounded like he was not going to make apologies for it (and he shouldn't).
One issue that needs absolute clarity to parents is that K-8s are a different animal than a comprehensive middle school. And, that parents who make that K-8 choice need to understand that the issue of offerings - both in-school and after-school - will not change for them once they have a middle schooler. That is how the district sees it and it is the trade-off for being in a K-8.
Is it fair or equitable? Maybe not but no one gets all that they want. Comprehensives get more because their tradeoff is much larger populations. K-8s get a smaller and more homey school but, in return, less money because of fewer students (and the ability to pay for more).
- Then we got to the "new" pages and options for NE middle schools. It came out of nowhere and, as you can see, that is one complicated Excel sheet. Director DeBell said "we aren't going to debate this all tonight" but that scenario 5 looked good. How he could determine that in a quick first look at the page, I don't know.
But let's walk through them:
Scenario 1 - divide Eckstein into a north and south annex. This really does nothing for Hamilton. And, I find it interesting that there is some perception that everyone in the far north is dying for their own Eckstein. I suspect far north parents might have their own ideas of what a middle school for their kids should look like.
JA would move to John Marshall for 3 years under this plan and then into their new building in 2016-2017.
The down-the-road look says this option doesn't nothing for the future. Nope.
Scenario 2 - Jane Addams co-houses with a new comprehensive MS rolling out in 2013-2014. Again does nothing for Hamilton. It also would create a situation where JA would probably get middle school enhancements because of the new middle school and then see them gone when they move to their new building.
In both Scenarios 1 and 2, JA would stay in one place until their new building was ready.
Down-the road, not really helping AND I see an uneasy co-existence between two schools in one building.
Scenario 3 - Create a 6th grade academy for Hamilton and Eckstein students at John Marshall. This appears to solve capacity issues for both schools and, of course, would be a 3-year commitment starting in 2014-2015. Phil Brockman said that there is research to support such an academy (and I believe one exists over on Bainbridge).
It doesn't state it but I assume JA would stay in place until their building was ready.
I find this scenario interesting. Down-the-road, it allows time for the district to actually CREATE the two new middle schools needed and could be an interesting experiment as long as sufficient offerings were
available. A good possible bridge.
Scenario 4 - New roll-up of Wilson-Pacific middle school at John Marshall starting in 2014-2015. This would solve capacity issues for both Eckstein and Hamilton but no numbers are available. This would, of course, mean boundary changes.
JA would stay in place.
Seems like the most complicated in some ways with both boundary changes AND creating a new middle school. And, you may end up with students who might need to change middle schools again once the new middle school and the new W-P are on-line. Not fun for those students.
Scenario 5 - Boundary changes for 2013-2014 in which 6th graders/new students from Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, and Rogers would now be assigned to the new middle school at JA.
Laurelhurst 6th grade (now assigned to Hamilton) would go back to Eckstein as well as any new students to Eckstein.
JA AND Pinehurst would share John Marshall starting in 2014-2015.
It does NOT fully help issues at Hamilton. In fact, I'm not sure they can be sure of the numbers. My rough gauge is that Eckstein might be down about 250 students. While that is much better, that there is not a great impact to Hamilton with Laurelhurst leaving is troubling.
1) I get the feeling that for some Board members, this was NOT the first viewing of these ideas. I felt the push was on for Scenario 5.
2) I appreciate trying to be sensitive to JA (and indeed the district should be given they created this school and should not try to shove it around). However, where is that sensitivity to Sacajawea, Rogers and Olympic Hills? It seems like south of 85th people are getting a better deal than to the north. At the very least, the far north end parents should be able to create their own middle school and not be Eckstein Lite.
3) What is very unclear (and not reflected) is how a new Wilson-Pacific middle school AND a new middle school at the JA building will impact the NW and NE. Where are those numbers?
4) I am not surprised to see Laurelhurst coming back into the Eckstein fold. I could have seen that coming.
5) What I find amusing is that Scenario 5 seemed to be popular with DeBell and
Carr. DeBell opined that attendance areas are the "backbone" of our
system. (While true, I pointed out that the greatness of the district
is the variety of schools. But when charters come in and take over
buildings and populations, maybe that point will be clearer.)
DeBell said that they need to be respectful to JA but that they
are likely to stay small without enhancements and that's how they can
fit in the space at Pinehurst.
6) Ah Pinehurst. There is no future mentioned for that school and no likely space (except maybe to take over Cedar Park after OH's moves out). This almost seems like a punt to me by the district as in "we'll keep them for a year and then decide." My sympathies to your community.
NE parents, weigh in. What do you think? Because now YOU have been offered options.
As I said in the previous thread, the decisions have to be made in an incredibly short period of time and if the wrong one is chosen, it will have real and lasting ramifications.