I learned some new things at last night's Board meeting about the growth boundaries and decided to pull them out as a separate thread.
1) There is to be an added Work Session on growth boundaries in the next couple of weeks. President Smith-Blum stated this but no date was given. She also stated that a big concern for the Board is that "we don't compromise instructional quality" in these discussion.
UPDATE: The Work Session will be AFTER the Intro of the plan to the Board, sometime between Oct 16th and Nov. 20th. I wish it was before Intro, given we are two weeks out from that.
2) The Superintendent and various Board members specifically said thank you to all who have given comments on the boundaries. It seems pretty clear that they ARE listening. And, I believe the Board is listening enough to push back in some areas. I'm not sure which ones but I believe the plan is definitely fluid.
3) One issue has risen to the top of my radar (that I missed) and I hoping for some feedback. Oddly, B.F. Day - in a large building with room - is seeing its boundaries shrink. This as they are considering changing the already-full McDonald and JSIS back to neighborhood schools.
It doesn't make a lot of sense especially if they choose NOT to changing those two schools from Option to neighborhood schools.
And naturally, this will hurt Day financially if not enough students are enrolled.
Timeline: October 16th is the Intro date to the Board for the final plan. November 20th is the final vote by the Board.
Two things to consider as well.
One, I hear this rising tide of "we need to take care of the neighborhood schools and GenEd classrooms first" in both terms of the boundaries AND resources. Meaning, is the district trying to do too much with expansion of foreign language immersion and bringing on new programs like STEM? I think both are great and clearly popular but there is a point to be made to how much the district can do and do well. I offer no viewpoint of my own but open that to discussion.
Two, understand that there is no "new normal." A couple of readers (and FACMAC members) have pointed out the obvious.
There is no real inventory. The district is accessing everything they can as fast as they can.
They cannot build fast enough with BEX IV and, as has been stated, even when they get done, our problems with capacity AND aging buildings will continue.
We are very much in a triage situation and again, I am sorry to state this bluntly but I don't want to see - after the new boundaries are established - anyone wipe their brow and say "Whoo. That's done."
It is not. I am sorry to say I believe this will be a painful five years for the district, staff and parents/students.
I believe the pressure of parents who want to grandfather their younger children into an older child's now-redrawn-boundary-school will be great on the Board and district. I do not know if that pressure will succeed but it will be a challenge either way.
High school boundaries are going to change if only because they will bring on-line a new high school. (And fyi, when the enrollment numbers are released for this year and you compare the high school numbers with the stated capacity numbers, understand that it appears the district woefully underestimated the ELL/Sped space for most high schools. Word is that those capacity numbers are anywhere from 100-300 OVER what the reality is likely to be.)
And, as I said to Director DeBell, yesterday, this revamping of boundaries based on a chessboard of buildings - new and old - is something I do not believe the district can get completely right. I say that not because of lack of faith in staff but because 1) it is a huge and monumental job, 2) there is no pleasing everyone and 3) the district continues to flex and grow.
It is distressing that there are no director community meetings this week - I wish the directors would make sure to have at LEAST one per weekend for parents who want to make contact personally. (That said, Director McLaren has a community meeting on Monday night.)
Your efforts in advocacy for your school or region are not going unheard. Please keep it up.
Send emails to GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org. (Please put your school or topic in the subject line.)