Sunday, September 24, 2006

Not Enough Capacity in the SW

As was the case in the SE quadrant with Phase I, Raj's current proposal would leave the SW quadrant with insufficient capacity. This is especially true if the district ever intends to move towards the goal of smaller class size in K-2 as outlined in the CACIEE recommendations.

Using the CAC building enrollment and capacity numbers, the proposed Roxhill closure and Cooper/Pathfinder merger would result in the following capacity:

  • 48 seats over capacity in West Seattle North

  • 33 seats over capacity in West Seattle South

This uses the 2005 enrollment numbers. And while the district staff will tell you they can fit more students in these buildings than the numbers listed in the CAC building reports, they don't tell you this means getting rid of "non-essential" spaces like Family Support Worker offices, music and art spaces, rooms for after-school childcare, parent resource rooms, and anything else that is not officially an academic "teaching station."

See page 7 of https://www.seattleschools.org/area/cac/capanalspreadsheet.pdf for a full list of things West Seattle schools can say goodbye to if the Phase II recommendations go forward.


Anonymous said...

The Superintendent's recommendation clearly addresses this problem in the North cluster by putting grades 7 and 8 of the proposed school at Cooper in portables. Given the projections for net decrease in enrollments in W. Seattle (and this mess is certainly going to help!) is it such a big thing to have a few classrooms in portables? A few portables is not ideal, but given the choice between that and wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars by not using facilities well, I would take portables (especially since they are likely to be temporary).

Anonymous said...

First, there is a very specific difference between a teaching station and other rooms. Some schools with extra space have used teaching stations for other purposes (which is okay) but you can't get upset if the district chooses to take them back as classrooms. There are teacher prep areas/offices that cannot be counted as part of teaching stations and, as well, most schools have a stage where music is taught. Using extra capacity will not end music or art.

Second, beware of portables. They are not temporary and that's why most people mistrust their use. Eckstein has used theirs for years and years with no end in sight.

Roy Smith said...

Capacity in the North would also be insufficient if the Pinehurst building is closed. I just finished reviewing the Appendices of the Preliminary Recommendations (they are now available on the school district web site), and here are my observations regarding AS#1/Summit co-location:

1) The figures include installing 3 new portables at Summit.
2) Custodial savings of $75,287/year are shown, which I am guessing means that the custodians don't move with AS#1.
3) Similarly, cost savings for nutritional services are shown, which probably means not all lunchroom staff move AS#1.
4) There are costs included for things like pre-closure planning, packing, moving, and phone and data disconnect and reconnect for AS#1. However, the figures do not appear to include similar costs that would be incurred at Summit as the rearrange themselves to make space for AS#1.
5) Overall, the district expects to expend a little over $1 million to co-locate the two programs. This will result in operational savings of $129,211 annually, which is a fairly poor rate of return. The only real justification financially for this is to avoid expending almost $3.7 million of BTA II funds, maintenance backlog, and seismic upgrades.

Given the fact that North end K-5 enrollment is expected to increase by 1,319 students in the next 8 years (that comes from the Phase 2 Preliminary Recommendations), spending $3.7 million dollars on Pinehurst may be a lot cheaper than spending tens of millions of dollars to replace capacity down the road. Excess capacity in the North was 1,322 as of October 2005, and that includes the Pinehurst building. If the Pinehurst building is closed and AS#1 remains in the North end, the district will need to find 279 seats (i.e., about one small elementary school). If the intention is to mothball Pinehurst and then reopen it at a future date (to house the anticipated additional students), then there may be effectively no cost savings.

This is all a very long winded way of saying that operational savings don't justify the co-location expenditures, and keeping and properly maintaining Pinehurst is cheaper than expanding other elementary schools or building new ones.