Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Seattle Schools Looking for Members for Capacity Management TaskForce

From SPS Communications:

Charter (partial):

At least two major pressures on capacity availability within our buildings are:

  1. increased enrollment growth
  2. state funding of class size reduction in grades k-3.
To that end, the report will include an examination of:

a) Major capital projects that are renovating or replacing school buildings.

b) Exploration of current city codes which are flexible or inflexible in the ability for SPS to increase space on confined building locations.

c) Impact of instructional space needs with the operation of current community based organizations. 

Number two and number three are items that I find interesting. 

There will be 25 members of the taskforce, half from staff and half from city, CBOs, community and schools.  (I've served on a couple of key facilities committees in the past; I'll have to ponder applying.)

Appointment of the task force will be for ten months. Meetings will begin at the end of June 2016 and continue until March 1, 2017.

How to Apply
Please complete the application form and submit it to Flip Herndon, as indicated, by June 10. Applicants will be notified by email, if possible, or by phone by June 15, 2016. 
Open the Capacity Management Task Force Application for family and community members pdf icon


Anonymous said...

Why is capacity an equity issue? What am I missing or can we not look at an issue without plying it through the prism of SES and racial bias?

"Please describe any perspectives or experiences you could bring to the task force such as cultural, racial, socio-economical, etc. which promote a diverse range of perspectives."

I could see equity in regards to SpEd or HCC because, hell they are the ones that are bused around to save capacity but this is ridiculous no? And strange the document page is titled December 20, 2002


Anonymous said...

I'm helping by removing my children from this dysfunctional district.

white privilege

Anonymous said...

We have already had this task force and the district did not listen to them. What kind of masochist would sign up for this? Why don't we all go and bang our heads against the wall instead? It will be an equally good use of our time.

The district will use this task force as cover for "listening to the public" and then do whatever horrible plan that they have already come up with.

-cried uncle

Anonymous said...

What do kids these days say? Hell to the no? It applies.
FACMAC, the last version of this idea was a failure so many ways mainly due to downtown.

Staff v Parents: Different agendas, different knowledge, non-communication from downtown.

Meetings: closed to public, no minutes available, resulting in general public suspicion.

Heavy makeup of Northeast parents in group = time and effort spent mainly on NE 'solutions' when rest of city needed consideration too. Problem compounded by heavy involvement of HCC parents from north end. None of this was parents fault. They worked hard and they worked on issues they cared about and knew about. No leadership or mediation or mandate to cover all areas of city from downtown leadership. Just a shoulder shrug that they couldn't get volunteers from all corners of city.

FACMAC parent leaders not reigned in by district when some committee members felt they had no voice. Committee members at odds with each other with no mediation.

Recommendations disregarded unless suited staff needs. No reasoning given for why recommendations taken or not.

FACMAC never officially disbanded. Just stopped meeting. Parents never told why or thanked. Some parents spent 100s of hours on this work and weren't even thanked?

There's more, but that's enough to say hell to the no again. Especially since downtown has dug itself the fatest deepest hole ever by not getting in front of the capacity issues parents were screaming about even before FACMAC started. And now parents on the new committee will take the fall for the horrible choices that will be left at the high school and other levels.

Seen it

Anonymous said...

Another task force? Are you kidding me? As the expression goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Anyone who's ever been on an SPS task force knows it's a fool's errand. Tons of hours with no benefit, as in no one in the district pays any attention to the findings of the task force.

With FACMAC, SPS suddenly disbanded the task force just prior to issuing their own(contradictory) findings. The same or similar has held true with every other SPS task force I've heard of. Sorry to be cynical, but this is a crock.

-Seattle parent

Benjamin Leis said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but I agree with everyone above. Someone preferably the board should ask the staff to explain what's going to be different this time.

Steve said...

Anyone who signs up for this is enabling the dysfunction of the district. Don't do it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that the charter for this group does call for public meetings.

That said, I thought FACMAC was one of the more effective groups and the district treated the members shabbily (and FACMAC gave many more hours than other taskforces.

Anonymous said...

You all have no idea of the really, really, really bad decisions FACMAC was able to stop. No. Idea.

(Seriously - stuff like putting half of HCC into Salmon Bay b/c as an option school its enrollment could be managed - FACMAC helped stop that and so, so, so many more bad decisions ... anyone really want to send their kids to a temporary sixth grade academy for just sixth graders, set up for only a couple years and then dismantled? (can you say purgatory/dumping ground?) - ? Well, FACMAC stopped that train too).

Unfortunately, that's why it actually IS important for knowledgeable hard-working people to sign up for this task force - because they can at least stop the worst decisions, even if they can't get the best choices implemented.

And re over representation of NE on the first FACMAC:

the whole north part of Seattle was well represented, not just the NE, as was West Seattle, because those two areas were hit the hardest and earliest with capacity issues. Capacity was on parent radar in those areas. Those were also the parents who had the most background and knowledge to bring to the table b/c of the earlier school-closing issues.

Additionally, previous FACMAC focused heavily on the north and West SEattle b/c the south/south east of Seattle doesn't have the same level of capacity crisis - there are more seats and lower density of kids in that quadrant of town - the schools/seats may not be in the geographically right places for the kids, and the walk zones are pretty bad, but the match of seats to kids is easier to make because there are seats, a good starting point (get THE CITY to work on safe routes to school - that's really hard for SPS to do! And certainly way outside of capacity management).

Although one of the absolute experts - Meg Diaz, since she comments here I'll name her - was from the central/south part of Seattle, I think - not the north or West Seattle. So there was very effective representation.

It was a level of expertise on that task force that could not be assembled by a private consulting group, absolutely not. SPS could hire some outfit from Virginia or California or Kent or wherever - but the volunteers of FACMAC had as much or more skills and all the local knowledge outside consultants (heck, outside Superintendents!) never get in a few visits.

These were people who went and eyeballed every school. Built their own projections for enrollment from census tract data. Ran multiple scenarios with different formulas to try to figure out what the high enrollment projections should really be. They were former logistics specialists, former large commercial project financial people, ex-lawyers, zoning people, large project managers, architects, engineers, people who worked in facilities management in other school districts but lived in Seattle, etc - and all of them were parents who knew and were extremely invested in the success of SPS - unlike outside consultants.

One more example: For instance, after district staff set initial proposed boundaries, FACMAC volunteers walked or drove almost every boundary in the very early draft phases before it all was presented to the public - again, a whole lot of boundary errors and minor adjustments were corrected at that phase in FACMAC feedback to SPS.

It's very easy to criticize FACMAC b/c it did or didn't do something - armchair volunteering, anyone? - but come on, look at how hard it was for a different group that had ONE clearly defined job - elementary math adoption - to be successful, and look at the s&*tstorm that math adoption committee faced from all sides. Then consider the success of FACMAC as a whole over two years and issues as broad as levy priorities, boundaries, new schools like JAMS and the STEM school at Boren (see, NE and WEST SEATTLE - both areas!), please, before saying they were a bunch of self-interested NE tools.

I have never seen a less self-interested group, or a volunteer group that actually managed to accomplish so much and avert so much else.

Signed - Proud/Sad

Anonymous said...


I can't speak for everyone, but I don't blame the parents who served on FACMAC, I blame the district.

I knew several parents who served on the committee, so I heard stories about it. I have also been around the district for years, and my child was at one of the schools effected by the first round of stupid closures, so I know very well that the district believes that parents are dumb, know-nothings who just get in the way. We tried over and over and over to show the district city data proving that those schools should remain open and that we would even need to open additional schools in the not too distant future. Didn't care - they already had their plan and they were going to do it no matter what.

Some of those ideas that you say the district tried to do are absolutely ridiculous. I am cynical enough to believe that the district puts out inane ideas so that we will all be relieved when they pull back that idea and put out less-bad, but still terrible ideas.

I know the parents worked tons of hours and were thrown away by the district. I am sorry the district didn't listen to them because it would have helped, if not prevented, many of the problems we are suffering now.

I would hope the district learned from this, but their original idea to just move the HCC 4th and 5th graders to Lincoln when the growth at Lowell proved too much (growth they ignored BTW), proves that they did not. That idea only proved my cynical view - that the district always throws out a terrible, untenable idea as their first part of negotiations.

By the way, not everyone who applied to serve on FACMAC was asked to be on the committee. I don't believe that not serving on the committee means that you are a lazy complainer or an "armchair volunteer." I am sure I am not the only one who has worked many volunteer hours at my child's school and does not deserve that kind of slam.


Carol Simmons said...

The District is to be commended for including volunteers with a diversity of perspectives to serve on this committee. Until we examine everything we do through an Equity lens nothing will change.

Eric B said...

I think that a big part of the problem with geographic representation on FACMAC was that there was no process to add people to the committee. When some people stopped showing up for whatever reason, there was no way to replace the interests that they represented. By the end, only the die hards were left. I think it started out with pretty good representation, it just didn't end as well.

Chris S. said...

Proud/Sad - LIKE BUTTON! I appreciate all the work committee members put in, and I do believe things could be much, much worse. Thank you!

Chris S. said...

Also, there's a conversation going on also over at WPD about lack of diversity at the upper-levels of WSPTA. I don't know how you are going to get inclusion of people without discretionary time unless you make it super-quick-and-easy to give input, and then, is it meaningful? Send a selfie to your legislator! -yes. Complex capacity decisions where you have to have a lot of understanding to even imagine the ramifications? I don't know. I will observe that "lack of diversity" is a very convenient excuse for bureaucrats to ignore 99.9% of the input they get (especially that which they don't like.)