Friday, June 26, 2015

Bell Times EIS Update

From reader Eric B:

I was the only person at the Bell Times Environmental Impact Statement scoping public meeting last night (Thursday, June 25th). Somehow, the meeting did not make it on to the District calendar, and the beautiful weather certainly didn't help attendance. There were a couple of interesting takeaways:

* Any alternative that doesn't fall within the range of alternatives covered in the final EIS will take a supplemental EIS. Fat chance of that.
* The consultant and Pegi McEvoy did not seem real eager to add additional alternatives to the list considered.
* The draft EIS is expected to be released sometime in late July for a 30-day comment period.
* McEvoy said that state funding is pushing everyone to a 3-tier busing system, and any districts not on that type of system are getting dinged by the state. I'd appreciate anyone who knows about this weighing in.
* The consultant said that they would look at positive impacts of changes (eg later start times reducing traffic accidents). They did not seem eager to address positive social issues (eg a friend in public health told me that teen pregnancy happens between 3 and 5 on weekdays).
* Part of the reason for including the extended day option is to cover a 7-period day when the state goes to a 24-credit graduation requirement, allowing students to make up time. Equivocation on whether that means that students who are not trying to make up credits could take 7 credits too.

That last one raises an interesting equity issue. If disadvantaged students are more likely to be missing credits, is it fair that they are also required to jack up their sleep schedule to make up? I'm not sure where I fall on this as opposed to summer school, but it's something to think about.

You can give feedback on the EIS scoping until July 6 at arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org. Full project page about the EIS is here.

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