Work Session Notes, Part One
I'm just going to try to plunge in with some info I got at last night's meeting. I'll try to group it but some of the info may seem random.
Sherry Carr remarks:
- There should be additional space at JSIS. This was explained by moving the BOC kids (I didn't hear where) and so there will be additional seats.
- Tracy said, "Special Ed and Advanced Learning certainly have plans under this new SAP." I know this is not telling you anything you don't already know but it's good to have heard it said out loud so we can remind them later. She also said about the assumptions used to create the boundaries, "Reasonable people can disagree about the assumptions and their use."
- We are using a modified VAX until 2011-2012. I guess they can't get us off it until then.
- Under Next Steps, the Super mentioned that there is early registration going on now. I don't get it.
- The projected size of the district by 2015 is almost 48,000.
- Why do some schools look like they have small attendance areas? Tracy said density is the key to that question.
- DeBell, along with several other directors, voiced the opinion that the new predictability factor might draw back private school parents. Tracy didn't agree but I sure do. I absolutely think it will be something that would give at least some private school parents pause.
Sherry Carr remarks:
- She asked about "balancing" schools between haves and have nots and asked Tracy about the process. Tracy said all the data will be available on-line for viewing. (She did say, later on, that not every single block is explained so don't look for that kind of detail.) Interestingly, walk zones are created by a City committee with staff from SPS . The issues is about adult crossing guards which the City has been supplying. With money tight, that will likely end after Dec. 2010 and the district is trying to figure this one out.
- Sherry is also worried about Metro (which is a worry for other Directors as well). There was an article in Seattle Times today about this issue. Fares may go up for students (which means the district will pay more for a Metro pass). Our transportation director seems to think it will be offset by help from the state but the Eastside schools doubt that. Something to keep on the radar.
- Sherry asked if something visual could be created to overlap old reference areas on new attendance areas.
- She asked about this finger of Green Lake at the top of the attendance area that goes into Maple Leaf. She also asked about McDonald straddling I-5 which she said could be a dangerous area because of drug activity.
- Sherry brought up the development around South Lake Union as an issue for the future. The demographer, Rachel Cassidy, spoke a couple of times, including this issue, but was very vague. Sherry brought this up twice and was one of a couple of directors to say that we might need another high school. Tracy said that high school population was in a decline because of smaller coherts.
- She asked about Laurelhurst's inclusion into Hamilton. Tracy said that one factor was that most of those students were out of the walk boundary to Eckstein and had to be on a bus anyway.
- She pointed out that part of GL that would go to Eckstein would then go to Ballard and was in Roosevelt's walk zone. (There are several of these anomolies around.)
- She also mentioned, kind of out of the blue, a question about whether APP would stay at Garfield. Tracy said most APP middle school students make the choice to go to Garfield and her understanding was it would stay.
- He managed to stump Tracy. (A new game show: Let's Stump Tracy Libros - first prize: enrollment in the school of your choice.) He asked her if the district had tried to establish equitible ratio of option school seats to middle school areas.
- He worried aloud about real opportunities for Open Choice seats. Tracy kind of said that siblings would likely get in anyway so that the seats would be open. (She forgot about siblings of students in the school for programs like Special Ed and ELL.)
- Michael said he thought the Census data would help but Rachel Cassidy said it wouldn't come for years. He seemed a bit wistful about it.
- He said he was concerned about walk zones. He saw some that looked good (like Adams) and some that looked off.
- He expressed concern over modified VAX use but Tracy said they didn't want to try to run two systems in parellel and said they do use modified VAX on some items every year.
- He worried over Metro use to Ingraham especially along Aurora.
- He expressed concern over walk zone to Whittier.
- He expressed concern over reopening schools without solid demographic data especially when presenting the case to the public. Rachel said she wasn't really planning to go into this issue in her presentation to the Board at the Board meeting (she makes a presentation on the October numbers tonight). I didn't hear a good answer to Peter's concerns.
- He suggested shifting the north boundary for Ballard 5 blocks north and rotating Ingraham counterclockwise.
- He also wondered about the Green Lake finger that will go to Eckstein and then to Ballard. Harium explained that the #48 goes from GL to Ballard easily. (It still seems weird.)
- She questioned how some middle schools only have 4 elementaries feeding into them versus places like Eckstein/Washington that have 9.
- She also brought up the oddity of having an elementary go to a middle school that then doubled back to a different high school. (For example, Laurelhurst used to go to Eckstein and then many students to Roosevelt. Now Laurelhurst will go to Hamilton but double back to Roosevelt. Maybe it will take getting used to.)
- She then asked a strange question about where 8th grade Spectrum kids go for high school. Hello? Cheryl? There is no path for Spectrum students and never has been. Why did she think of this now?