I am going to attempt to slog through all my notes but I expect Charlie, Kellie and Meg to chime in here as we were all sitting at the back taking notes. (And, I had to take a phone call during part of the APP middle school discussion.)
Staff has done an incredible job in creating the various plans. No one can truly know how long it must have taken and the tedious but important job of determining walk zones, ripple effects (if this, then that) and all the other issues they had to take into account.
So why so messy and why so much confusion?
My view (not shared by Kellie) is that the main flaw WAS the public engagement. Kellie believes the problem was never truly expressed so the answers were always to be confusing and flawed. I believe that I think I know what staff problem staff was trying to solve but that they never engaged their stakeholders correctly in the first place and so, never had real buy-in AND created mistrust.
The old set-up for these meetings - presentation, breakout groups, no rationale for plan details and no ability to ask questions - has got to change.
They did get through all the amendments (and kudos to Director Peaslee who worked hard to get it done). I guessimate about 50 people there (and I thought there would be more). Banda opened the Work Session saying "it's been a bit of a rollercoaster" - I don't think he was trying to be funny but sure, just a bit. He said that this whole process was about "accommodating increased enrollment" and adjusting for the BEX IV building.
Also, as to the volume of amendments, it became clear that the Directors had no intention of passing all these. Many seemed to be thinking out loud ideas to bounce off each other that would not have been discussing if not put forth as an amendment.
Also, the staff is going to strive to get any agreed changes to the last version of the plan by Friday but if they are not able to, then some amendments that are slight changes may be grouped into one amendment.
Ready? Get a cup of coffee and here's what I heard.
Amendment #1 - Patu - No changes to SE - STAYS
Now there is a column to the far right in the amendments list for Staff Comments and they say "no changes have been recommended for 2014-2015 except Dearborn Park as an option school."
Okay, but once you take away a neighborhood school, you then have to change boundaries for surrounding school. That's not a one-school change.
I covered some of this in my live blogging but the upshot was that most of the directors thought if Enrollment just made absolutely sure that the parents of Dearborn Park - many of whom I understand to speak English as a second language - get a letter that explains DP is no longer a neighborhood school, they will get assigned to Van Asselt BUT all they have to do is go enroll (during Open Enrollment) and most of the neighborhood will get into DP.
The district didn't even have a conversation with parents about this change and the Board believes this magical letter will happen?
Then we got to the first of Director DeBell's - for lack of a better word - manipulations of the evening. He says that the director for International Programs, Karen Kodama, has worked with the principal and the BLT and that they were fine with the change. He says he himself talked to the DP PTA. But that's not what Betty - and it's her region - has heard. It was quite the disconnect but Director DeBell has a bee in his bonnet over getting all the foreign language immersion schools on paper before he's gone.
Patu started to listen as the other directors talked about the letter that would go to parents (but Tracy Libros was quick to say there are NO guarantees for Option Schools so she could not say that in the letter). Director McLaren said well, maybe we could designate DP as an international school for a year and do outreach to make sure parents are well informed.
But really, I think the more DeBell talked, the less this change made sense to Patu and she stood her ground. The amendment is going forward. (I think McLaren's suggestion makes sense and if DeBell was smart, he should have jumped on it but now it's an either or situation.)
Amendment 2 - Peaslee - OUT
To delay all boundary changes except those absolutely necessary.
Amendment 3 - Carr (I am unsure if this is in or out)
Lots of adjustments around Northgate/ Olympic View/Olympic Hills. Staff said this would be a priority but that there are many schools where the situation is that there are more children who can walk to a school than the school can hold.
Amendment 4 - Carr - STAYS
Revert to version 2.0 for a sliver area between Green Lake and Bryant that had gone to GL but was to change to Bryant. This is likely to easily pass and staff is good with it.
Amendment 5 - Smith-Blum - STAYS
This is around the old TT Minor walk zone that has too many students going to Stevens. Libros and Smith-Blum had a back and forth on this one and my notes reflect some pushback from Libros based on what might happen three years out.
Amendment 6 - Smith-Blum - OUT
Another version of Amendment 5.
Amendments 7 & 8 - Smith-Blum - (I am unsure what the outcome of these two are.)
Around Stevens to Madrona boundaries.
Amendment 9 - Oddly looked like a staff suggestion but again, I am unsure what happens here.)
Amendment 10 - Patu, Smith-Blum - STAYS
Around where to site World School and rollout of Meany. They are suggesting Meany rollout at TT Minor (where World School is scheduled to go). They were careful to say that it does NOT mean World School won't go to TT Minor but that the only other place to rollout Meany would be in faraway Van Asselt. (And Eckstein parents, you think you have issues? Look at the map and see how you would like going from your neighborhood to one very far away.)
They noted that this area has three urban zones and no data to take into account new housing starts and the effects of density on the region.
Patu expressed the desire to site World School in a building "where we won't touch it" and that's the worry if they are at TT Minor.
DeBell asked where WS would go then? And, is TT Minor a good place for a middle school (but I think for most parents location trumps building). He also questioned the costs. Again, it is going to cost to do anything - Van Asselt will need work just at TT Minor would need work.
There was a suggestion of rolling up Meany at Madrona which is underenrolled. (Although one of Smith-Blum's earlier amendment would increase the elementary enrollment at Madrona so I don't know if that plays into it.)
Banda said that the district has a written agreement with WS to place them in TT Minor but McLaren asked what would happen in five years if the district needed more elementary capacity in the that area? The answer was that they could put on an addition to Bailey-Gatzert (staff looked into this). That could work but it also means that B-G could be a fairly huge elementary school.
Amendment 11 - Smith- Blum - MAYBE
To create feeder patterns for Washington and Meany Middle Schools. Staff had evidence that Mercer would end up short 123 seats and Meany would be under by 440 seats. It seemed a stand-off to me.
Amendment 12 - DeBell, Martin-Morris - YES
APP North Middle School. Here's where I left to take a phone call so I'll ask the others to fill in.
When I got back DeBell was saying it roughly hits the targets. The issue seemed to be whether APP should split - right now - into three schools - or if there should be a wait and see approach.
Carr worried about a "weak start" at Wilson-Pacific that would "strain" the program. Tracy Libros said that JAMS would open with APP and when W-P opens they could choose to say "let's start phasing out APP at Hamilton." DeBell was accommodating saying that if the expected numbers of students at W-P were less, they could phase out APP at Hamilton and have quite a robust number at W-P (like 465 students).
(Meanwhile, Charlie was fuming because yes, this whole discussion is around program placement which is NOT the work of the Board and yet here we are.)
Smith-Blum felt it important to work with the APP Advisory Committee on this issue and Peaslee felt it was a lot of movement for students. This was interesting because DeBell had first said that he wanted to ease disruption for students. I'm not sure the other Directors see it that way.
Amendment 13 - Carr - OUT
Also, APP middle school.
Amendment 14 - Peaslee - OUT
Also, APP middle school
Amendment 15 - Peaslee - OUT
APP elementary. Why this was in here, I don't know.
Amendment 16 - Patu - STAYS
A bit of confusion here as Patu said she didn't want this one anymore given her first amendment against Dearborn Park going Option. DeBell said that he would take it up as he wants DP to go Option.
Amendment 17 - Carr - STAYS
Amendment to put AS1 (which is Pinehurst's old name and since they are leaving that building, it appears if the school survives, it will be AS1) within JA K-8 as a program. Carr said she was trying to land the school for the interim.
Amendment 18 - Carr - STAYS
This one is around placing the Native American program at Lincoln. Staff did push back as Lincoln appears to be a go-to place for various programs. Carr said there is room, it's on the busline and she seemed determined on this one.
Amendment 19 - Peaslee - STAYS
Pinehurst to interim at Lincoln and then move to W-P with Native American program. It's all bit confusing what will happen to these programs but Directors seem to want to keep these programs.
Amendment 20 - Peaslee - OUT
Hamilton and Lincoln trading buildings. (I note that staff said it would require numerous moves in and out of buildings. Yes, and that's what we did with school closures as well.)
Amendment 21 - Peaslee - OUT
basically a duplicate of 19
DeBell then got very statesman-like and said that there had been advocacy for APP, AS 1 and the Native American program but not World School. He said that World School is very diverse but almost invisible and are just as deserving.
I can only say that (1) AS 1 and the Native American program have been small and undersourced and almost ignored for a long time. So it's not like World School is alone in this and (2) where was DeBell when the BEX III money got taken away from World School?