Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Second Round" of School Closures

At last week's Board work session, Raj repeated his statement that the district is hoping to identify one school out of four in the Central cluster (T.T. Minor, Leschi, Thurgood Marshall or Bailey Gatzert), and one school in the Northeast to close by Fall 2007, on the same timetable as the other schools identified through the current school closure process.

First of all, how does the district put a school (T.T. Minor) that is going through a merger this coming year with M.L. King on the list of possible schools to close? Can you imagine telling the MLK kids they need to change schools again after 1 year?

And secondly, if there is not currently enough capacity in the Northeast to close Sacajawea, then how will enough capacity be found to make it possible to close an additional school in the Northeast?

Also, I just don't get the rush to make additional closures happen. Even COO, Mark Green, commented that this timeline is "ambitious."

When questioned by Irene Stewart about when student assignment plan and transportation changes were going to happen, staff said major changes to either couldn't happen until final decisions were made about which buildings were closed. Assignment and transportation plan changes would then be implemented in the following year, Fall 2008.

Obviously, alterations to both policies could result in significant changes in student enrollment. Why not wait to see where students end up in Fall 2008 before making further closure decisions?


Anonymous said...

About TT Minor, that's why the MLK move, this fall, was not a good idea. They should have waited for the CAC and then made a decision. It will be hard on the MLK kids. At least if the rec by the CAC is followed for McGilvra's reference area to expanded (and preference given for a year to MLK kids), they will have choices.

I think the Super wants to reach the targets set by the Board. Also, as I recall, the SE is howling over being the area most affected. I think the Super expected all along to straighten out that perception. There is one school in the NE that could be moved and its building closed. It has to do with alternative capacity.

Also, the closures are supposed to affect transportation/enrollment by Fall 2007 so I don't understand the Fall 2008 date.

Anonymous said...

So by alternative capacity, are you suggesting they might consider moving an alternative school to another area of town (out of the NE cluster)?

Anonymous said...

The Superintendent has said that the excess capacity in the Northeast is at Summit.

The Superintendent recommended closing Summit last year.

I don't know why anonymous is being coy, the "one school in the NE that could be moved and its building closed" is probably Summit.

And where could Summit go?

It could go to John Marshall - a better location for an all-city draw, but a poor location for an elementary program.

It could go to Lincoln, and the district would still be able to use almost 1000 seats at Lincoln as an interim site for elementary and middle schools under construction, but not most high schools.

Another school in the NE that could be moved is AE1 at Pinehurst. It is a small school with a pretty sucessful program that could expand at a larger location.

Anonymous said...

Charlie is right. AE1 could move in with Summit and fill Addams. Or move it to another area of town but however you do it, you can close the Pinehurst bldg. Summit wants to move to the Central Area but there doesn't seem to be many options for it. Summit could move to Lincoln but the district seems to want to hand onto that bldg as a permanent interim.

I had to laugh at the PI article this morning. Director Soriano doesn't like dispersal of students. What she doesn't get is that it is amazing that the CAC/Super were even able to move any school populations together (MLK, Fairmount Park, Whitworth); it's not the norm nationally. I'm not sure that she thought would happen.

And moving autism programs. I have a kid with Asperger's so believe me, I get it. But this is a growing trend and it is going to be asked for at the majority of schools sooner rather than later. If some of the trained Viewlands teachers moved to, say, Greenwood with those students, they could help train MORE teachers in autism inclusion. One parent in the article said other parents would pull their kids out of school with autistic kids. Let 'em. That's their problem.


Anonymous said...

I would not like to see AE1 move to Summit. I don't think the AE1 community would like it either. First, it would exacerbate the problem of having a magnet school on the outskirts of the district. Second, I wonder if the two schools would retain independent identities. I don't think they would.

It would be far better for AE1 to move to a larger and more central site - say McDonald (capacity 400) - and grow to that size. While that sounds like a net no gain exchange - close one building, open one building - it actually will represent improvement in a couple ways.

First, AE1 is a K-8 with an enrollment of 273 - not efficiently sized. It would be a much more cost-effective program if it had an enrollment of 373. Second, it would allow more people to get their first choice for assignment. Third, it would create another 100 elementary seats in the Northeast where we need them.

If Summit moved to John Hancock, then the district could re-purpose Addams as a middle school. Unfortunately, I think that would create too much middle school capacity in the North. In addition, some elements of the community would shriek about a predominantly minority population moving out of the building and a majority White population (51%) moving in. According to Joe Drake, the principal of John Marshall, that would be an obvious case of racism.