Discussing December 9th Recommendations
End of meeting recap: took notes by hand for most of the rest of the meeting; left near the end of the high school discussion. Here's what I can read from my notes:
Maier: concerned about transportation costs in option of moving Summit K-8 to Meany. Maier also asked whether Summit K-12 costs in the 9-12 grades had enrollment priority for getting into high schools. Answer from Tracy Libros was "no", would be enrolled in high school closest to home address on space available basis. Said that only displaced students getting ability to choose spots at any school they want are a handful of T.T. Minor 4th grade students who were also moved (from M.L.K.) during last round of closures.
DeBell: likes the option of Summit K-8 and Nova together because it provides a pathway for students wanting alternative education.
Bass: how will siblings be handled in dispersing Summit and AAA? Tracy Libros: based on geography, so siblings in same grade band will be at same school.
Mary Bass then asked some interesting transportation questions and had a lengthy discussion with the district transportation staffer. I didn't follow all of it (getting tired), but was interested to hear that Summit is part of a pilot with transfer buses, and Lowell is going to be part of a pilot with local school drop-off options, both designed to cut down on transportation time and costs.
For high school options (both presented with neither one "preferred" like in the other cases), took the Cleveland/RBHS merger discussed at last work session off the table. According to Dr. G-J, "putting 2 comprehensive high schools together would exacerbate problems" already facing the high schools. Michael Tolley (Dir. of HS) also said that closing a comprehensive high school would reduce the number of seats to almost exactly functional capacity, which leaves no flexibility or room for adjustment.
DeBell: "Not sure if either of these options is vetted enough...perhpas more time is needed."
7:45 pm: Battery dying. Signing off until I return home.
7:30 pm: Talking about non-preferred recommendation, moving Summit K-8 to Meany and SBOC to Hawthorne.
Sunquist: asking questions about rationale; clarifying that cost and academic achievement are two reasons for Board preferring Summit K-12 closure to moving Summit K-8 to Meany.
Bass: speaking on behalf of Summit K-12, a "long-standing" alternative school program, willing to move but wants K-12 part in place; raising fact that haven't had an alternative school program audit and are limiting options for alternative schools prior to doing this.
Dr. G-J: will have alternative schools audit this spring; but timing does not permit completing that before closure and consolidations are made; staff will also bring data to Board on what impact these recommendations have on number of seats overall; made Rainier Beach recommendation to allow Summit K-12 to keep full program together; but since parents didn't want that option.
Reviewing Old Hay & Mann recommendation, involving SBOC and Nova and Meany.
Maier: Asking question about Central capacity and room at Washington Middle School.
Sundquist: Asking about signed previous agreements with SBOC and two points: 1) only housing bilingual students and 2) recently rennovated building.
Goodloe-Johnson: Reads section from original Preliminary Recommendation which includes other details of 2006 signed agreement. But says many things have changed since then. Says Board would need to amend or specifically state that changing recommendation made in 2006. Recommendation reflects "best practice" based on bilingual audit, which information was not made prior to the earlier agreement.
Carr: asking about utlization and difference between the two recommendations (preferred and not preferred); raising concern about Nova model and "out of the classroom" time
Staff members talking about access to public transportation and Seattle Central Community College.
DeBell: asking about how the recommendation fits with long-term plan to create an international high school (a high school made up mostly of children speaking languages other than English).
Bass: uncomfortable with Meany students being "displaced" by other programs; highlighting the diversity and inclusion and recent improvement of the Meany program.
Moving on to Elementary APP slides.
DeBell: raising concern that closing 2 schools in Central cluster takes cluster too close to full capacity, leaving no room for adjustment if more parents return to public schools.
Carr: Montlake does not have hearing scheduled. Shannon: time to schedule hearings for Montlake and any other buildings affected; have mapped this out; similar to 2006 with Rainier View.
Maier: Would Lowell (turned into a neighborhood school by this proposal) have room to grow if 1/2 APP and special education is there as well?
Tracy Libros: depends on what IEPs for special education say
Sundquist: would like to hear more about "design teams" and timeframe for their work; worried that parents will be making decisions with uncertainty
Carla Santorno: first priority is principal selection; talking about building transitions (all-school assembly, structural pieces of program that lead to a cooperative school)
Bass: would like to think about how we might be able to bring in more children from around the neighborhood.
DeBell: with both APP schools in Central Cluster, increases capacity concern; since APP-tested kids are guaranteed seats if they apply on time, creates potential capacity issues for neighborhood kids.
Dr. G-J continuing with Genesee Hill building.
Sundquist: Asking about the "Given the Board's decision to lift the restrictions of the Student Assignment Plan..." phrase. Said he made a request to examine the possibility, but the Board has not made a decision. Tracy Libros says that is correct, and any vote on the change in Assignment Plan policy would be included in overall vote on recommendation.
Sundquist: Asking about special education students at Cooper and "buddy system" program that is grant-funded.
Dr. G-J: Special education and ELL program placement details will be provided in final recommendations.
Sundquist: Raises desire to look at program options at West Seattle Elementary school to make the school more attractive to families and increase enrollment.
Maier: Asking about "may be included" phrase. Holly says that is because decision has not been made yet.
Maier: raising question about where AS#1 students will go; raising possibility of not making decision about AS#1 until the following year; possible that some of the Summit K-12 parents would migrate to AS#1; provide breathing room and flexibility; then make decision when drawing assignment areas.
Bass: if that option is going to be offered to AS#1, should offer that option to all the programs slated for closures; give them an option to grow for a year; use this as an incentive to grow, not close; suggests that it is better to wait for assignment plan decisions before making school building closure decisions.
G-J: We are not in a position to give schools this opportunity. Building closures are necessary because of current financial condition, with closures yielding both short-term and long-term savings. We have 5 reports that consistently say we have too many buildings based on the numbers of children we save. "All of us would like not to have this process...we have to move forward collectively to really build a stronger system...to right-size the system and provide stronger programs...if we don't close facilities, we cut people, we cut programs to the point where we don't have quality."
6:25 pm Restarting meeting. Goodloe-Johnson going over Potential Final Recommendations, whether or not they have changed, and is taking Board questions.
DeBell: raising NE capacity issue again; beginning process with 15% over planning capacity already. Dr. G-J has Rachel show NE elementary capacity slide that wasn't available earlier. DeBell raising additional questions related to effect of closing AS#1 and Summit and how that affects capacity.
Harium: asking additional questions; concerned about creating one "uber-alternative school", with 3 schools with different pedagogies; says if these changes happen, Jane Addams will be full and this won't help capacity issues.
G-J: will go back and re-examine recommendation now that have full functional capacity analysis and will bring back update at Dec. 17 meeting.
Maier: proposal would be AS#1 for another year but with cluster-only, not all-city transportaiton.