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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FYI: Board Work Sessions This Week and Next

Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. the Board is having a Work Session on BTA III. This will be the first opportunity to hear what projects have made the preliminary list and the Board's reaction.

The first one on the list should be the $11M that was on BEX II for Secondary BOC that was taken, in its entirety, for the Garfield project (which is now almost $20M over). Secondary BOC asked to NOT be put on BEX III because they thought it would happen again. Keep in mind, the district did manage to build a new, albeit at $14m modest, building for South Lake High School so yes, they could do it for Secondary BOC.

I'm not advocating a new building since the decision has been made to co-house them with Nova at Meany. BUT, since those two schools are moving and moving in with another program both of which require science labs and other high school facilities, then that building should get a good chunk of upgrading to support them.

On a personal note, I have been and will continue to advocate for security cameras for Roosevelt. It's about $50,000 to $100,000 depending on what they put in. There is some discussion at the school about finding sources to fund it (RHS Foundation for one) but I'm against that.

It's interesting because my feeling about BTA is that district staff know which schools have high performing PTAs and the district may not always fund projects at those schools. I can't prove that but I know when I was at Eckstein, the PTA replaced the carpeting in the library as well as buying a new set of desks for one classroom per year. Would you fund these items if you were the district if you knew a PTA would? McGilvra bought their own portable. That sure saved the district money.

But PTAs are for enhancement, not replacing worn furniture or providing security. We are supposed to be working towards supporting staff and providing extras like chess club, art, music, etc. The district can't lean on PTAs for what they are obligated to provide.

The other meeting of note is next week is a Tuesday work session from 4-8 p.m. on the student assignment plan. I need a whole other post on this issue but here's the heads up. Additionally, there will be a work session on the 2010 Budget before next Wednesday's Board meeting. That work session is from 4:00-5:30 p.m. with the Board meeting starting at 6 p.m.

8 comments:

owlhouse said...

Thanks for the updates, Melissa.

I think SBOC is absolutely right in asking to be kept out of BEX 111. They should not have to wait for another round of funding.

Charlie asked on another thread, if it were documented that Meany would be "high school ready" for SBOC/Nova. I haven't had a chance to look back through the reports, announcements and such- but this was the promise made to Nova, and a primary reason for moving the school. Michael Tolley told Nova students and staff, in person, on a visit following the capacity management vote. This line was repeated by him and district staffers at the initial design team tour of Meany. School board members assured me of the same.

I don't know how much the labs will cost. I don't know how much it might cost to relocate the day care the district forgot to account for when considering the class room space available at Meany. Regardless. The district rushed to this poorly planned move, and it is their responsibility to provide the necessary facilities and furnishings. I can't make the meeting tonight, but know that both programs appreciate any advocacy on our behalf.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Owlhouse, just sent off my e-mail this morning to the Board saying this project should be at the top of the BTA III list.

The reason I feel so strongly on this (beyond the simple fairness issue of it was promised) is because when I was on the CAC I was struck by the community and commitment of both programs and how vital both are to our district.

Charlie Mas said...

Wow. I cannot imagine worse news. If there is nothing more than assuring comments from Michael Tolley and School Board members about making Meany "high school ready" for S.B.O.C. and NOVA, then it just ain't gonna happen. If you don't have it in writing, you don't have it.

When, when, when will people learn how to do business with the District? For every single thing they promise you, get it in writing. Whenever possible, get the Board to vote to approve it. If you get all that, then there is about a 50% chance of success. Without that, you have no chance. Never fulfill your end of the bargain until they fulfill theirs. If you go first, they will not come up with their part.

Seriously, it's like making a wish on the Monkey's Paw or getting something from an evil genii. Be very very specific, get it in writing and never pay up front.

owlhouse said...

Charlie,
Your response reads like a rant against Nova. Maybe I should interpret it more as a reminder that the district either a) has no idea what's going on or what they are capable of, or b) knowingly, willingly lie to any/everyone as they push forward their agenda. I mean really, were we "doing business" with the district when we were evicted form the building? Was there some negotiation process that you, I and everyone else connected to Nova missed??

Anyway, as you well know, many in the Nova and SBOC communities worked tirelessly to stop the insanity, to determine needs, to ensure resource allocation. "High school ready" is the district's wording, and much as I hope we do have it in writing, I'm not sure there's any agreement on what the phrase means.

Personally, I think Nova and SBOC should have a "tent school" encampment outside Meany until the building is properly prepared to house both programs.

ParentofThree said...

NOVA.....You all need to communicate with Mary Bass and Michael DeBell....they were both very clear that funding needed to be available for schools impacted by Capacity Management before the Hamilton Music room vote.

Neither one of these board members stated they only a "goverence body" so I really think you could get some support from them.

Also, get on the list to testify, in 3 minutes present your "Wish List" so that it is on the record. And the good doc won't be able to use that as an excuse to screw you.

Go for it.....

Charlie Mas said...

I certainly wasn't ranting against NOVA - I freakin' love that program.

It was yet another harrowing tale of the dangers of accepting assurances from District staff.

owlhouse said...

I know, Charlie, but thanks for clarifying. I'm extra sensitive- especially having just learned that two of our teachers have been RIFed. Wonderful, fantastic teachers- who want to work with our program, including the coordinating system. Looks like the average "coordinating load" for experienced teachers will jump from 25 to 35 students next year.

Thanks Melissa and SPSmom for your support and guidance. We'll be advocating in every way we know how- in between packing, preparing for graduation, having our auction, trying to prepare for an audit the district can't tell us is or is not coming...

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a link to the BTA presentation to the Board from May 13, 2009.