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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Updates for Tomorrow's Meetings

One, there is an agenda up for the Work Session and basically, staff will review how the gap is to be closed and the other item is...Pay for K. So whether or not the "found" $3.3M will go to it or not, it is to be discussed in some way.

Two, I was checking the Board meeting agenda and there was one change on the Transportation document which is to call AS#1, Pinehurst K-8. I don't know why; does anyone else know? Is it to reference them being a K-8?

Also, the following information was in the document and I urge you to take it to heart and spread it among your communities. We don't want anyone to NOT understand that there may not be transportation for some elementary students next year based on whether they are attending their attendance area school or not.

There are a number of changes to transportation eligibility and service for 2011‐12; please refer to the Transportation Service Standards for 2011‐12 for specific information. Some elementary grade students who are:

(1) currently eligible for transportation in 2010‐11,
(2) still live at their same address in 2011‐12,
(3) will attend the same school as in 2010‐11, and
(4) live outside of the assigned school’s transportation boundaries,

will not be eligible for any transportation service in 2011‐12. Students in this situation will be
guaranteed reassignment to their attendance area school if requested. Families are strongly encouraged to apply for this reassignment during Open Enrollment.

45 comments:

name said...

AS#1 is officially changing its name to Pinehurst K-8 for next school year. I believe it will be listed as Pinehurst K-8 on all the enrollment info.

seattle citizen said...

Name, do you know how this name change came about? You write that the school is changing its name: Did its BLT or community decide on this change?

The AS#1 name has a long and respected history - I wonder why the change?

Anonymous said...

AS-1 is now Pinehurst K-8 Community School

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/main/ShowSchool?sid=955

What, exactly, is a "community school?"

- Just Curious

joanna said...

Hi all, as I closely examine the new transportation plan presented tomorrow night, I worry that that this area (Area 4 is being guaranteed transportation to Stevens only through 2013. I just don't understand why they would permanently allow all of the attendance area except the walk zone to be in the transportation zone. Much of area 4, the Stevens area south of E. Madison would be more than 1.25 miles from the school and would be the intermediary boundaries for transportation. There will be room for additional testimony. I suggest that someone should ask the question and advocate that this piece be changed. Are students to be shut out of their assigned schools due to the lack of transportation?
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/021611agenda/021611agenda.pdf
to agenda
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/021611agenda/transservicestandards.pdf
transportation agenda item
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/021611agenda/transservicestandards.pdf
to the transportation plan
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/021611agenda/transservicestandards.pdf
Quote:
"Intermediary Boundaries for each Attendance Area School shall be drawn to automatically extend transportation and or walk boundary eligibility to all students within these boundaries during school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you Name. I'm a little surprised this came about with no official notice or explanation but sure enough, that's how it is now listed in the School directory.

joanna said...

Why are they making the wording so much more complicated than it needs to be?

Megan Mc said...

My family isn't at AS#1 anymore but I was part of the initial name change committee and even posted a thread about the discussion here two years ago. From what I know, there was a school-wide survey and vote on a new name for the school and the district approved the new name.
@seattle citizen, I can't speak for the current community but there were a lot of families when I was there who felt like the name was a burden that the school needed to lose if it was going to grow in its reduced transportation area. Others argued that the school was so far from its original mission that it seemed fitting to change the name.

Megan Mc said...

I should add that there were (are) many families and staff who wanted to keep the AS#1 name so it was not a unanimous decision.

StepJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan said...

StepJ:

Yes! And -- it is so unprincipled. Just stop to think for a moment how far we have strayed from any remaining fidelity to school choice. SO much was initially said to "lull" parents into believing that they still had options for their kids, if the "neighborhood school" was a horrible fit. It is virtually all gone. Just tatters and rubble remain -- and who knows when, where, or on whom the "next" blow will fall (recognizing, of course, that as the remaining vestiges of "choice" from the parent/school selection side dwindle and vanish before our eyes, the Administration is busily dismantling "choice" from the school offering side, by undermining alt schools, standardizing texts and courses, etc.
I feel like King Lear. In keeping with your storm metaphor, I think I will grab my trusty jester and go tear my hair out and howl into the wind in the wastes of what was once a school system that valued, and allowed, meaningful individual choice.

joanna said...

Although my post directly addresses a specific area, really the situation is also symptomatic of the systematic disregard for the interests of students and their families left to the whims of unknown behind the scenes players.

sick of it all said...

joanna

And those "unknown behind the scenes players" are the toadies that MGJ has surrounded herself with. They are constantly reminded of what they have to do to keep their jobs. Most self respecting staff people who knew the district well have jumped ship while they could. Happily employed at other education entities, they simply could not stay where they had to tow her line.

A BIG SHOUT OUT to Kay Smith-Blum for actually reaching beyond that inner circle and (heavens!) ASKING OTHERSwhat they think the "found" funds should be used for!

What a concept! Asking actual taxpayers and citizens, parents, staff, etc.

Thats the first indication that a board member might even be willing to listen to ideas (generally discouraged) from parties outside the "unknown behind the scenes players".

How refreshing! Lets hope it's catching.

seattle citizen said...

Thanks for the background on the name change, Megan Mc. Sounds like a community decision, which I respect. Guess I'm getting old and forgetful, as I didn't recall the thread a couple years back.

Kate Martin said...

I'm pretty sure it's not really going to be a "community school". http://www.communityschools.org/ A great concept that Seattle just won't latch onto - who knows why.

The name change has some benefits IMO. The confusing mashup of safety net schools into the pile called alternative schools has and does create confusion and has hurt some alternative schools in the past. Summit for instance would get overwhelmed with safety net high schoolers or just about to be safety net high schoolers that they had no resources to deal with. If a school is not a neighborhood school and is not a safety net school it would be nice to have a name for it. In this case, AS#1 would at least be freed from confusion. A community school would be great, but again, I'm not seeing movement in that direction other than the $.5M grant that SPS got a couple of years ago from The Childrens Defense Fund to apply some wrap around social services to south end high schools. I've heard nothing about it since they got the money. The grant was called a community school grant.

joanna said...

I hate to harp on the transportation plan. But how does it make sense to deny transportation to any group that lives in an attendance area outside the walk zone? If any one understands the logic let me know.

Intermediary here implies temporary, meaning that after that they would have to live in the attendance are and be within 1.25 miles of the school in order to receive transportation.

Those who lived in the attendance area and more than 1.25 miles from the school would not receive transportation. Too bad for those students. They would have to find their own way to the only school to which they are guaranteed assignment or take their chances and try choosing other schools. What if they live in an area that is in no walk zone. Too bad again they would not receive transportation.since they don't live in the attendance area.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Melissa, when you get the time, can you do a thread on how school choice has been effectively eliminated with the NSAP. And all of the broken promises that the district has made regarding the preservation of choice in the new plan.

I'm thinking about the promised 10% choice seats at every high school that have now been eliminated.

I'm thinking about the loss of the Barnhard-Waldman algorithm, causing families to have to game the system, instead of being able to list the schools they want, in order, on their applications.

I'm thinking about the drastic reduction in transportation services which will of course hinder many families "choice".

Just to name a few.

Charlie Mas said...

joanna,

I'm pretty sure that each attendance area school's entire attendance area outside the walk zone - even parts that are more than 1.25 miles from the school - will be included in the transportation zone for the school.

The transportation zone is the area outside the walk zone within a 1.25 mile radius of the school, expanded, as necessary, to include the entire attendance area and contracted, as necessary, to stay within the middle school service area.

Charlie Mas said...

There is no question that the District, after pledging to retain school choice in the New Student Assignment Plan, has been eroding it with vigor.

Breaking the commitment on the 10% set aside is the most egregious violation of their pledge, but the loss of transportation and the end of the Barnhart-Waldman process have also diminished choice notably.

These people are big time liars and they need to be held accountable.

Charlie Mas said...

How in the WORLD are they going to guarantee these students assignment to their attendance area school?

There must not be a lot of NE students from the Bryant or View Ridge areas in this situation. The vast majority of these 600 students must not be students who are going to school far from home as a result of mandatory assignments because they couldn't get into crowded schools near their homes.

The vast majority of these 600 students must be students who exercised choice to escape a low-performing school for a high-performing school.

joanna said...

Charlie I quote from the documents ready for voting tonight, "Intermediary Boundaries for each Attendance Area School shall be drawn to automatically extend transportation and or walk boundary eligibility to all students within these boundaries during school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013."

This implies that this will be true only for these two years. Then what? Why not just say that the transportation zone will be the part of any student assignment area outside the walk zone. That is what would make sense if that is the intent.

I know that it may seem paranoid, but after sitting through some operations meetings where I thought the same thing you do. Of course, it would become clear and logical. Now I don't think so.

Maureen said...

Joanna, Charlie is right. Let's use the Stevens Transportation Zone as an example. The Yellow area is the 'permanent' Transportation Zone. Notice the rectangle that juts south to cover 'Area 4.' That is there because that area is inside the Stevens attendance area so those families are part of the 'permanent' transportation zone for Stevens even though they live more than 1.25 miles away.

Now look at the red line that traces all of the water boundaries and 1-5 and I-90. THAT is the 'intermediary boundary.' That exists to make it possible for the kids who currently attend Stevens but live outside the 'permanent' zone to keep attending Stevens if they want to. Outside the yellow area and inside the red Intermediary area the kids will have to walk to community stops to catch a bus, but they will have a bus for the next two years.

The kids inside the yellow area (including Area 4) will have a bus 'forever' under this plan.

Of course, when I say 'permanent' and 'forever' I mean until they develop some other plan that saves even more money. But the 'intermediary' zones will definitely shrink over time since they are drawn with the current school populations in mind. The yellow areas are drawn to fit the current boundaries for all of the neighborhood schools.

Does it make sense now?

anonymous said...

"How in the WORLD are they going to guarantee these students assignment to their attendance area school? There must not be a lot of NE students from the Bryant or View Ridge areas in this situation."

You give the district to much credit. This statement implies that the district researches, and gathers data, prior to making decisions. They don't. At least not effectively. They rush to decisions, and make promises that they can't keep. Then they back pedal, patch, and often have to renege.

joanna said...

Thank you for the maps.
Yes, I was only reading the documents that are on the agenda. After looking at the maps and speaking with someone in the transportation, I understand that Charlie is correct. Interestingly, it tends to continue to support some choice more than I thought was implied in the written documents.

I was also mistakenly thinking that assigned school implied neighborhood attendance area school.

Maureen said...

My understanding is that the guarantee of a seat at your attendance area school only holds for kids who live outside the intermediary boundaries for the school they are currently assigned to. Take a look at some of those boundaries (the red lines). They are HUGE. Sandpoint's covers basicially the whole Eckstein area and a chunk of Hamiltons. Stevens covers basically the whole former Central cluster. They were drawn individually for each school to take into account where the currently enrolled kids live. I don't know if they also account for how much room there is at their attendance area schools. I wish I could see the breakdown for all 600 kids (I saw a slide that showed it for the Aki Kurose area-54 kids from what I recall. Lots of the kids who wouldn't have a bus would be assigned to the new Rainier View school in that area.)

I agree with Charlie, most of those 600 kids are probably attending a different school by choice. Chances are they are being driven there already and will continue to be. It will be interesting to see how many actually use that option. I'm glad it's there though.

Anonymous said...

Broken Promise, from New Student Assignment Plan, Transition Plan for 2010-11, page 26, adopted January 20, 2010 – APPENDIX B: NSAP TWO YEAR GRANDFATHERING PLAN FOR TRANSPORTATION:

Students with grandfathered assignments will be eligible for grandfathered transportation for two years as follows:
. . . .
4. ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
* Elementary school students shall receive District provided transportation service.
* This grandfathering plan applies only to grades K through 5 students attending an assigned school from outside of their NSAP service area during the 2009-10 school year and continuing on to that same school in consecutive school years 2010-11, and 2011-12.

With the adoption of the proposed 2011-12 Transportation Standards, the Seattle School District will thus flagrantly break this perfectly explicit promise to provide continuing yellow school bus transportation during the upcoming school year to many current students who are enrolled in elementary schools that now lie outside their service area as defined by the New Student Assignment Plan.

joanna said...

Anonymous, I sympathize. Are you able to get any response from the District on this?

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

At least in our family situation, your assumption is misplaced that “There must not be a lot of NE students from the Bryant or View Ridge areas in this situation. . . . The vast majority of these 600 students must be students who exercised choice to escape a low-performing school for a high-performing school.” Why do you think that on the very day of this public transportation standards meeting there are no posted proposed transportation zones yet for Laurelhurst Elementary, for example?

We live in what is now the NSAP Bryant attendance area, and in what was previously called the Bryant reference area under the old assignment plan. We unsuccessfully picked our neighborhood school Bryant as our first choice at open enrollment before our child began Kindergarten in school year 2009-10, after adoption of the new plan but before it was put into effect. Although at that time our child had obviously never been enrolled as a student, we were instead assigned under the old plan’s lottery system, and were told that this action automatically made our incoming entry-grade child a “current” student who would henceforth be “grandfathered”! Our immediate transfer appeal in summer 2009, even before school opened, pointed out that because under the newly-adopted NSAP our still younger preschooler could only anticipate a guaranteed place in our likely attendance area school Bryant, the School District was unnecessarily threatening either to split our siblings just a couple of years later, or at least seriously disrupt our incoming Kindergartner’s elementary education with a forced move midstream. We also pointed out that the District was proposing to waste time and on money on inefficient transportation. This evidently prescient request was rejected.

Instead, in 2009 our incoming Kindergartner was not assigned to our then reference (now attendance) area neighborhood school Bryant, nor to our second choice View Ridge, but instead to our third choice Laurelhurst. (For the record, all three are comparable high-performing schools, our ranking being dictated mainly by proximity.) When the new attendance area boundaries were completed during the winter of our child’s Kindergarten year, it turned out that under the NSAP the elementary school Laurelhurst to which our mandatory assignment was made now no longer lies (as it previously did) within the same service area as our continuing attendance area elementary school Bryant. So despite explicit “grandfathering” promises which specifically included continuing transportation in the upcoming school year, we now find ourselves among the over 600 students who will apparently soon be denied any transportation to our assigned school!

Anonymous said...

Joanna,

As you read from the last post, the District rejected our sibling unity concerns as early as summer 2009 when we appealed our initial assignment letter, pointing out that it made no sense to initially assign incoming Kindergartners with younger preschool siblings outside our then reference area, now attendance area school, which is Bryant Elementary. Again that fall, and winter, when the 2010-11 Transition Plan was being introduced, we specifically requested that older siblings of preschoolers be allowed to transfer into their own attendance area schools immediately – without having to wait arbitrarily until those younger preschool siblings reach Kindergarten age – so that all such affected families could commit to their neighborhood school fully without worrying about future split siblings or transportation denial. Again, this proposed older sibling attendance area incoming transfer policy was rejected.

The Seattle School District is now breaking its explicit promise to provide yellow bus transportation to our mandatorily assigned “grandfathered” child who at this point would be entering 2nd Grade at Laurelhurst in Fall 2011. Ironically, as it does so, it “compensates” by guaranteeing this same older sibling the very seat in our own NSAP attendance area school – Bryant – that it has consistently refused to offer until now. Our family has pointed out to the District for almost two years that under the NSAP our younger preschooler will enter Kindergarten with a seat and transportation guaranteed only to our attendance area school Bryant. We now abruptly learn that our older sibling will no longer receive the promised “grandfathered” transportation to Laurelhurst, the school to which we received a mandatory assignment, and that our younger sibling will also be precluded from attending that fine school due to lack of transport.

For our family, and no doubt many others like us, in order to achieve sibling unity for our two elementary school children, we would thus now be forced to uproot our elder child from an excellent school in which we have now accepted our a mandatory assignment, and have formed deep ties. While we do welcome the future predictability for other families that will eventually come with the New Student Assignment Plan, in our experience, this inept and bungled transition has been a complete shambles. In its erratic, inconsistent and constantly shifting policies, the Seattle School District has shown scant concern for numerous affected families.

Anonymous said...

Laurelhurst parent,

Laurelhurst and Sand Point will be sharing buses. If you look at the transporation map for Laurelhurst you will see that the bus zone for Laurelhurst includes all of the Bryant attendance area.

A parent

Olliesdad said...

What happens to the transportation promised to the Cooper Kids? They were evicted from their neighborhood school and bussed to 4 schools which weren't their neighborhood schools in West Seattle South, because that was the only place there was any place in West Seattle to put them. Is the District going to yank their promised busing after they were assigned to those schools? The District is skating on thin ice on this one...

Dorothy Neville said...

Olliesdad: Tom Bishop said that all the kids uprooted by closed schools are being tagged in the system and they will get transportation no matter what.

As for the "if you don't get transportation to your school you can get guaranteed movement to your attendance area school" (ie, the Bryant issue) there is a caveat! They will continue to analyze this during and after open enrollment. Then there may be some folks that would like to take advantage of this offer, but there really is no room for them at the attendance school so.... they WILL end up getting transportation to their current school.

Anonymous said...

Joanna,

you are absolutely correct in your very narrow interpretation of the new Transportation Service Standards, which as you point will soon withdraw any transportation of elementary school students even to their very own attendance area school, unless they live within walking distance of a stop no more than 1.25 miles from that assigned school.

Let’s begin with these proposed Transportation Service Standards for 2011-12. On Page 1, in Section A (Eligibility), Paragraph 3 (Attendance Area Elementary/K-8 Schools), these new standards strictly limit transportation for all attendance area elementary students to the simple yellow donut with a 1.25 mile radius ringing that schoolhouse, omitting the brown hole in the middle which is the walk zone. While Joanna is absolutely correct, Charlie and Maureen, and apparently even the school transportation department staffer are quite mistaken: nothing in the actual text of these new standards suggests any permanent expansion of the donut to include the full “Attendance Area” of any school outside that simple geometric circle.

The only reference to any attendance area school transportation from outside the donut (other than IEP transportation and medical transportation) appears in Section A, Paragraph 3, Exception d, which advises the reader to see the document’s concluding Section N, described as “New Student Assignment Plan: Transition Plan for transportation transition rules.” Now take the Stevens Transportation Zone map example offered by Maureen, who points to the “the area that juts south to cover ‘Area 4'” as proof that those Stevens Elementary attendance area families “are part of the ‘permanent’ transportation zone for Stevens even though they live more than 1.25 miles away.” Maureen, the posted yellow transportation zone map does indeed show this, but the governing text of Section A (Eligibility) of the new standards flatly contradicts that visual representation.

For outside-the-yellow-donut transportation you must turn to Page 8, Section N, labeled “New Student Assignment Plan: Transportation Transition Plan: 2011-12 & 2012-13." For those two years only, so-called transitional “Intermediary Boundaries shall be drawn for each Attendance Area School to automatically extend transportation and or walk boundary eligibility to all students within these boundaries during school years 2011-12 and 2012-13.” On the posted Proposed Transportation Zone maps, these temporary Intermediary Boundaries are shown in red and are very large. But as the plan is actually now written, in just a couple of years these large red Intermediary Boundaries will disappear entirely from the maps and the permanent transportation zones will then automatically shrink to the simple 1.25 mile geometric yellow donut around each school – not those expanded versions shown on the contradictory posted maps which without any explanation add yellow paint to all remaining parts of the school’s attendance area that are outside the permanent transportation donut.

Josh Hayes said...

I can't speak to what motivated the voters to choose "Pinehurst" as the name for the erstwhile AS1. For me, I have begun to feel that the name "AS1" is, regrettably, for a large chunk of our potential family base, poisonous. A lot of people regard AS1 as a hippie school where no learning happens, as ridiculous as that is.

BTW, Pinehurst, nee AS1, has been taken off the SIG and intervention lists as of Wednesday the 16th. Could have used the money, but I'm glad the numerous attached strings are gone. WV suggests "borps".

Anonymous said...

Dear A Parent,

Thanks for pointing to the Laurelhurst Transportation Zone Map, among the last posted. Do keep in mind that under the proposed new transportation standards as written, for all families those enormous red “Intermediary Boundaries” will simply vanish from the map following the 2012-13 school year, when the attendance area Transportation Zone will abruptly shrink to a perfect 1.25 mile yellow donut ringing that school, without any regard to attendance area families excluded by this proximity requirement. The plain language of these governing eligibility standards is sharply at odds with the posted Proposed Transportation Zone maps (which without any explanation add all attendance area families to those yellow donuts in direct contradiction to the expressly stated controlling distance rule laid out in the eligibility standards).

Those perfect 1.25 mile yellow radial transportation zone donuts ringing the schoolhouse are also cut off into smaller segments whenever they encounter a Middle School Service Area Boundary. For example, Laurelhurst Elementary is now grouped with many other elementaries in the Hamilton Service Area which (along Sand Point Way and Blakely) borders the Eckstein Service Area that includes Bryant Elementary and Sand Point Elementary. So on the Laurelhurst map, the yellow transportation zone is nowhere close to a full donut, being cut off to the north of the schoolhouse by the Eckstein service area, and to the east and south by Lake Washington and the Ship Canal.

The surviving chunk of that yellow donut – the permanent transportation zone – exists only to the west of the schoolhouse, and it is truly a hoot – maybe somebody else can hyperlink to the Laurelhurst map to show this more clearly (I don’t know how): After also excluding the brown walk zone hole in the center, which covers pretty much the whole Laurelhurst neighborhood, what remains in Laurelhurst’s permanent yellow transportation zone includes only the following: The entire upper and lower campus of the University of Washington, stretching all the way from Boat Street to the Urban Horticulture Center; all of the University Village shopping center; and just a few apartment buildings straggling along Blakely and the Burke-Gilman trail. There are almost no houses included in Laurelhurst’s yellow permanent transportation zone, and indeed almost every eligible child would have to come from a small UW married student housing complex that lies on Blakely! From 2013 the permanent yellow Laurelhurst transportation zone will serve mainly seagulls, not students.

Anonymous said...

Here is one important important source of confusion. On the SPS Transportation Page website linking to the proposed transportation zone maps, it is stated: Transportation Zones will include the entire attendance area of a school." But unless it was amended at the School Board Meeting last night, the actual Section A (Eligibility) text on pages 1 and 2 of the newly adopted Transportation Services Standards make no such pledge, and will indeed limit direct transportation to attendance area students within the prescribed 1.25 mile radius.

When adopted by the School Board last night, can anyone tell us were these new Transportation Service Standards amended in any way, or just rubberstamped by the Board?

Unknown said...

Anonymous you need to pick a name. That's blog policy.

Ok, I see what you (and Joanna) are saying now.

From the new Transportation Service Standards (p.3)(emphasis added):

Attendance Area Elementary / K-8 Schools - Elementary and K-8 students who live within the boundaries of their service area and who live within 1.25 miles straight line radius of their assigned school are eligible for District provided transportation.

Have you emailed Tom Bishop about this, or attended any of the meetings and asked? It was very clear from every presentation he gave that he intends that "and" as inclusive, not exclusive.

So to be clear (and correct) that text should read:

...students who live within the boundaries of their service area [or] who live within 1.25 miles straight line radius ...

or:

...students who live within the boundaries of their service area and [those] who live within 1.25 miles straight line radius ...

I think it's safe to go with the yellow areas as drawn, but you should definitely contact Mr. Bishop (tabishop@seattleschools.org) to clarify and they should probably fix the language.

Re virtually no busing to Laurelhurst: I'm not sure what your point is. Apparently most of the kids live within a safe walk distance to the school. Why is that a problem?

joanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joanna said...

Yes, I see that I may have given up my concern too soon. Do they have to be both in the attendance area and within 1.25 miles of the assigned school (be it a close one that is not in the attendance area or be it the attendance area school) or is it for both (either-or) categories of students?

This wording is very clumsy and should have been changed, and I (I am sure others too had done so.) had written with questions prior to community meetings being completed. I did not see the maps as part of the agenda item, which bothers me. Now I wish I had testified last night.

The woman I talked to in transportation seemed to see it as two separate categories. I ended up buying into it when I looked at the maps and then viewed "attendance area school" and "assigned school" as separate entities. Now I see that the original concern could still exist.

"And" could still imply that both attributes need apply to the student in order to qualify for transportation.

Anonymous said...

So where do MS and HS students fit into the "provided transportation" formula? WIll the District still provide Metro passes for student those students who attend outside their attendance area schools?

SolvayGirl (having problems despite changing my password)

Anonymouse said...

Maureen,

thanks for the name tip, I hope the above will do. At last, I too now see what you and Charlie and Tom Bishop are saying. It's like the picture of the Grecian Urn one moment, staring faces the next. But Joanna's (and mine) is the much more natural reading of the actual language used, and in that sense the correct one -- even if the maps, the meetings, and the intent were all otherwise. And no, I have not attended any meetings or emailed Tom Bishop, and had not even given it any thought until reading Joanna's post (this important issue does not affect our family because we do not live in the Attendance Area of our mandatorily assigned school). This wording is a huge problem waiting to unfold and it really does need to be fixed.

At first I thought you nailed it with your two alternatives, Maureen. But then I realized that you also need to focus more on the introductory phrase: "Elementary and K-8 students who live within the boundaries of their SERVICE area . . . ." This seems redundant (don't all students live within the boundaries of their service area?), unless it is supposed to mean instead their assigned school's service area; this phrase does not say ATTENDANCE area. Under your suggested new wording, the District would still be committing to transport students to any school within their service area just as it does now, and quite contrary to the posted new yellow transportation zone maps.

For the same reason, changing the conjunction that follows from "or" to "and" does not work. Even though you recall that "It was very clear from every presentation [Tom Bishop] gave that he intends that 'and' as inclusive, not exclusive," the use of the term Service Area rather than Attendance Area in the preceding phrase precludes his interpretation unless the new plan is intended merely to continue the status quo. The conjunction "and" is indeed used in order to exclude. This is in fact how all the posted permanent yellow transportation maps including Laurelhurst's are drawn, stopping dead at Service Area boundaries regardless of whether students students are within a 1.25 mile radius of their assigned school.

As for those distant attendance area students, I can't suggest any revised language myself because I'm just really not sure what the District is trying to do.

Maureen said...

Solvay, yes, middle school and high school haven't changed (except more MS students who live between 1.5 and 2 miles from their schools will be offered Orca passes.). (I miss your adorable picture-it looks just like one of my sister-in-law from Syracuse!)

Re. either/or language. I was at the meetings. The intent is to provide buses for kids who live inside the attendance area AND to kids who are outside the attendance area but inside the 1.25 mile circle. This is reinforced by the clearer language on the website: Transportation Zones will include the entire attendance area of a school

The language is not perfect. You know, I totally get the paranoia, but it just doesn't apply in this case.

The woman I talked to in transportation seemed to see it as two separate categories.

If you don't believe her, why doesn't one of you pick up the phone and ask to talk with Tom Bishop? Then please report back to us here.

I can see why Joanna would be concerned-the Stevens area has an odd shape. But how many other schools would this concern even apply to? Especially since kids can also walk into the yellow doughnuts to catch a bus.

Maureen said...

"Service Area" refers to Middle School Service Area. "Attendance Area" is your K-5 or K-8 Attendance (Neighborhood) School Area.

Anonymouse said...

Maureen,

that's just my point. Properly stated, an elementary school student's Middle School "Service Area" is based on their home address, not on where they are assigned to attend school. Either way, "Service Area" and "Attendance Area" mean very different things.

Anonymouse said...

“Re virtually no busing to Laurelhurst: I'm not sure what your point is. Apparently most of the kids live within a safe walk distance to the school. Why is that a problem?”

On a lighter note, you honestly will smile if you examine the Laurelhurst yellow permanent transportation zone, because this fairly substantial expanse of land just happens to have almost no housing in it, which you can easily see by zooming low over the UW campus and University Village areas while using google satellite views. As for your assumption that “most of the kids live within a safe walk distance to the school,” I very much doubt that. We certainly don’t, and thinking about our 1st Grader’s Laurelhurst Elementary classmates, I can think of only some who actually do.
And to be clear, while Laurelhurst’s yellow permanent transportation zone is occupied almost entirely child-free by the University of Washington campus and University Village, there are in fact plenty of houses and even neighborhoods within the 1.25 mile straight-line radius from Laurelhurst Elementary – yet all of these homes are automatically excluded from its yellow permanent transportation zone, merely because they are across Sand Point Way, NE 45th, and Blakely, and therefore in a different middle-school “Service Area” (Eckstein, instead of Laurelhurst’s Hamilton). Why is that a problem? It might not be, if the overall public goal is only to serve particular neighborhoods with a very strong, wonderful school, like Laurelhurst Elementary. But on a more systemic level, maybe we are not fully appreciating the costs, beyond the most obvious one of classroom diversity.
From the perspective of space management, for many years Laurelhurst (and other schools) have served as a vital pressure valve for many of our own neighborhood kids who were regularly excluded from our reference area school Bryant and from other nearby schools by the old lottery system with its distance tiebreaker. Do not underestimate the powerful differential influence these permanent new yellow transportation donuts will soon exert upon particular school enrollment, class size, and ultimately educational quality. These new broken yellow donuts will actually lead to some elementary schools being underenrolled, and will lead to others being overcrowded. From 2013, as adopted, the Section A (Eligibility) language of the newly-adopted Transportation Service Standards will not carry those yellow donut wedges across Service Area boundaries; nor does it currently even expand the yellow 1.25 straight-line radius permanent transportation donut to include full Attendance Areas, all newly posted transportation maps and recent SPS public pronouncements notwithstanding (and on that latter detail, with no disrespect, I don’t care what Tom Bishop or any staffer says, since the new standards themselves explictly say otherwise).
For us, the problem is that direct transportation to Laurelhurst Elementary will be pulled from our mandatorily-assigned, supposedly “grandfathered” 1st grader, and it will now never be offered to our younger sibling about to enter Kindergarten. So we are being given a Hobson’s choice between splitting our two siblings or uprooting our “grandfathered” elder child’s elementary education. For our family, that is a problem.