I am blessed to know people who also work hard to understand our district. Many of these sources have analytic skills far beyond mine and I am so glad they are willing to share their knowledge and understanding with me. What I put forth comes from conversations with a couple of these people. (But we don't all agree.)
In terms of capacity management for 2013-2014, here are a few things to consider as the Board has its Operations Committee of the Whole meeting today where they will be discussing this issue. (Also, keep in mind that as we have been discussing the NE middle school region a lot here, there will also be capacity management happening in West Seattle. For some reason West Seattle folks haven't weighed in much on that and I would guess they feel what the district has put forth for their region is reasonable.)
Let's flesh out what is the cold, hard truth - big change is coming to enrollment patterns in the NE. For elementary, for middle, for high school. BEX IV already reflects that with the addition of the new middle school at Wilson-Pacific, the new elementary at Thorton Creek, etc. along with the opening of a new middle school at Jane Addams.
Understanding that these shifts up through middle school will also affect high school is key as well. Lincoln, after doing yeoman's duty for a long time as an interim sight, will go back to being a high school. So those patterns will change. (And I expect to see quite the dogfight over who goes to Lincoln and who goes to Roosevelt.) Opening Lincoln is also not the only consideration as Roosevelt will have a light rail station right next to it by about 2018 (the year changes all the time) and that means more density around Roosevelt.
One huge question is no matter which of the three options is chosen, what happens in 2014-2015 when they do start assigning students to the two new middle schools (if that's the plan)?
Does it mean that some kids might start at Eckstein and then have to move to one of the new schools?
Will the district grandfather everyone in who starts 6th grade at Eckstein?
As Eric B, a frequent contributor said in another thread, people are going to be unhappy. It's a question of trying to lessen the impact (ie make the new middle school very attractive) and being equitable (other people might have to share the pain even if they are not directly impacted).
JA K-8 with co-located new JA Middle School
First, this allows JA K-8 to stay in place which is their preference versus moving to Pinehurst. It would also immediately limit the numbers of students who could enroll in JA K-8 and thus keep their numbers to a reasonable K-8 size in anticipation of their move to Pinehurst.
In other words, somewhat stunt/slow their growth.
No real boundaries will have changed but simply the district saying that Sacajawea, John Rogers and Olympic Hills 5th graders would go there for the new JA Middle School.
Now it is unclear to me what would happen the next year, 2014-2015.
By then, the district will have made boundary decisions for JA Middle School AND Wilson-Pacific. Would they think assign a nearly full amount of students to JA Middle School and thus necessitating JA K-8 move out? I am puzzled on this point.
6th Grade Academy
As I wrote to the Board yesterday, if I had either of my sons as 6th graders now, I actually would not care. (That said, neither was involved in the music program at Eckstein in a big way.)
My sons would be with all their other 5th grade friends and maybe make new friends that they would eventually meet up with in high school. The opportunities for new learning at Green Lake and Roosevelt are real and distinct possibilities.
But it sounds like this is quite the non-starter to most so I would guess the Board will reject it. (However, as someone else pointed out, even if it is the most expensive, I think some of that might be start-up costs which they would have using John Marshall no matter what. And, the staff they need will all end up at one of the middle schools.)
Steady State and Mitigate
This is what I advocate for. I know it puts off the inevitable tsunami of change and yes, turmoil that is to come.
However, I am a big believer in planning. This effort, to recreate the NE middle school regions, really needs to be well-thought out and frankly, should involve parent input.
If it were just about one school coming on-line, I would say go forward with one of the other two options. But it isn't and the district will live with the decisions made now. Making that decision while you are worrying about passing a levy (that must pass to make much of this come true) worries me.