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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Work Session on Capacity Management

As I previously posted, yesterday's meetings got started late.  I had been there for 3 hours and they still had not gotten to the meat of the Work Session.   It was pretty frustrating but again, they ALWAYS believe they can get through work quickly.   I can only say that maybe if this district would quit getting poor audits then yes, they would have had more time at the Work Session.  Also, I knew from looking at the Powerpoint that there was no way to get through the information in an hour-and-a-half. 

So what I heard from the first part of the Work Session is below.  I am hoping that others who attended and stayed longer can report back on the solutions portion of the meeting and, in particular, what the discussion was with the Board directors.

It was Pegi McEvoy, Operations, and Bob Boesche, CFO, reporting to the Board.  They first went over the Demographic Task Force Report.  

One theme here is communications.  Everyone on the Taskforce agreed that the district must be more transparent with demographic data, facilities planning, capacity management and program placement information.  And, that more "purposeful" communications to stakeholders at all levels needs to happen. 

This is a theme echoed in the consultant report by W. Les Kendrick.  (I may have to write a separate thread on the Demographic Taskforce report and the consultant report.  Both are short but have some interesting information that's worth reviewing and weighing in on.)  Peter weighed in and was nice about it but it seems he was expecting something different from the Taskforce (I think he thought they would be making recommendations on actual capacity management decisions.)

Mr. Boesche then went on to what else has been happening.  They working with the  Construction Services Group, at ESD 112, to help with the organization.  (It seems Mr. Nichols, the interim head of Facilities, is still working here so he has a full plate.)  FYI, ESD stands for Educational Service District.  SPS is part of ESD 112 and they are one of nine statutory regional services agencies in Washington state.  They have a lot of support services for districts including facilities work.

Mr. Boesche went on to say that he felt the district needs better communications and could get more community support if they did more outreach and education.  Michael De Bell chimed in to say that some members of the Taskforce are people he regularly consults with and finds it useful.  Betty said she felt that the district did not always know what was happening out in communities and at schools and may make decisions without the help of that input.  Kay Smith-Blum also pointed out that program placement does drive some enrollment and that it is an important consideration.  Sherry stated that she just had to go on the record with concern about getting it right because the district would lose a lot of money if enrollment flattens or even goes down.

This is the point I cried uncle so if anyone else attended, please let us know what was said.  

11 comments:

Po3 said...

"Sherry stated that she just had to go on the record with concern about getting it right because the district would lose a lot of money if enrollment flattens or even goes down."

Now she wants to get it right?

joanna said...

I do have some comments that I will post later today as soon as I finish with another commitment.

joanna said...

Ok, I don't know if I will have time for all the details and it is made more difficult since there was a second preliminary spreadsheet in addition to the maps with more details showing projections the how each assignment area according to demographics would grow or shrink from now through 2015-16, which, of course is interesting and alarming, as if we are planning toward promises of stability and predictability in some areas things are going wrong. If the District wants to gain market share and do a good job of serving families, we have to be prepared to make adjustments with the ebb and flow of population within assignment areas and work with neighborhoods to ensure that there desirable programs in all the schools. We cannot continue to threaten readjustments of boundaries. This leads to the same situation where some communities not located next door to a school never really have a school that they can embrace, claim and support. Schools are at the heart of a community's identity. The previous rush to open and close schools, along with never clearly answering many community questions has been destructive to the affected neighborhoods and families, especially if the District now cannot keep promises.

joanna said...

Oops I was opining too much in the last post, and on top to that made typos. Sorry I will try just the facts, which would be easier if I could share with all the spreadsheet that went with the now updated documents that can be found through accessing the agenda:http://district.seattleschools.org/module/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=94c6574305625e8ff8f83b42ecd8c636&pageid=191478&sessionid=94c6574305625e8ff8f83b42ecd8c636

For instance, some of the comprehensive middle schools are shown to become over enrolled. The dilemma, of course, is that in those areas the middle school capacity needs could be mitigated by filling the middle school portions of the K-8. Kay suggested that perhaps students could just be assigned to K-8 middle schools. Harium with many more words suggested that the K-8 experience is very different from the comprehensive middle schools and are usually considered a choice to be made. The only K-8 projected to be at or over capacity is TOPS. (more later)

joanna said...

This post will mainly address the Central Area elementary issues with a brief summary of how other areas look. Nova has been told that it is 85% certain that they will return to Mann in 2012. I asked the facilities people about the lease there, and they indicated that it wouldn't be a problem. I also inquired about the TT Minor Lease. I guess there was a bigger penalty written into that lease if the District were to reclaim it before 2015. Yes, they can get it back earlier than 2017, or even before 2015, but there is penalty if it is before 2015. I asked about Sand Point, and maybe they paid a penalty there too, but could remember how much it was. Getting the facts on these could prove time consuming. However, I am going to try to get some clarity on the meaning of the state RCW.

In the meantime, the general understanding by some of the Nova parents had been that SBOC would move out of Meany while it is remodeled for SBOC. However, when I asked Pegi McEvoy if that was the plan she said they are not sure the SBOC will ever be a large enough program to fill Meany. Meany now becomes another facility where the plan for future use is not clear and SBOC a program without a clear plan that has been made public.

By 2015-16 the area is projected to have 530 more elementary age students than the current available space would accommodate in the area. This does not account for changes at Lowell. Madrona K-8 is projected to be under enrolled in both the K-5 and 6-8 areas while all the other schools such as Leschi and McGilvra are projected to be more than 120% over enrolled. Stevens is projected at capacity until 2014 and still not over 120%. Functional capacity seems to change and the current capacity estimates are on the spreadsheet. Gatzert is projected to be over enrolled by 146% by 2015.

Kay recommended that the staff begin engaging with" the group of parents in area 4, that group that is between Union and Cherry and is clearly south of Madison." Madrona would probably be a more logical school to capture the some of the too-many students from McGilvra and Leschi. Many students there live closer to Madrona and those two schools have a greater problem with projected over enrollment and McGilvra's problem begins in 2012 and climbs quickly to more than 120%. Still should families and communities have to readjust so often?

The only areas without similar issues (They have them listed middle school service areas.) are: McClure with a projected enrollment of -65, Hamilton with +46, and Whitman with +97. The other areas are projected to be over enrolled as follows: Madison at 393, Mercer at 683, Washington 530, Eckstein 236, Denny 879, Aki Kurose 456. The preliminary spreadsheet that was handed out has more detail and the updated material from the agenda give some ideas have some ideas.

A note: a non-construction solution seemed to be favored for the projected lack of middle school capacity around Eckstein.

Anonymous said...

Joanna,
Please explain:
"A note: a non-construction solution seemed to be favored for the projected lack of middle school capacity around Eckstein."

Did they mention anything specific about their plans to address the lack of middle school capacity in the north end?

North End Mom

joanna said...

Interestingly the middle school situation is quite different from the elementary numbers. The projections are as follows with the minus indicating the amount of excess capacity in each service area by 2015: Aki Kurose at -150, Denny at -204, Eckstien 370, Hamiltion 89, Madison at -219, McClure at 69, Mercer at -63, Washington at 266, and Whitman 174. These figures include the K-8s in each area.

Earlier I misstated the situation in K-8s. The K-8s that are projected to be at or over capacity are Broadview-Thompson at +37, Monroe-Salmon Bay +22, Cooper-Pathfinder at -2, Blain +36, Orca at +40, Pinehurst at -7, and TOPS at +30.

However, there is projected excess elementary capacity at Broadview-Thompson (-26), Monroe-Salmon Bay(-49), Blaine(-32), Pinehurst(-114),and Orca is located in the Mercer service area that has excess Middle School capacity.

The K-8s with projected excess capacity in 6-8 are South Shore (-63), Jane Adams (-75), and Madrona (-61).

The reaction to non-construction alternatives had to do with planning to opening new sites until the current capacity is more balanced among sites. Wilson Pacific was mentioned. Can a good comprehensive middle school option be made for 370 students? There was some discussion regarding moving Olympic View to the Whitman Service area.

With the current enrollment patterns Eckstein is at 116% capacity by 2013, and Washington is 113% by 2013, with both eventually going to more than 120%. Whitman would not be more than 110% over until 2015-16.

Moving John Muir to the Mercer service area was discussed as a mitigation for Washington. On the map or in writing this type of thinking makes sense, but once again destabilizes communities. With a little more planning and thought much of what is happening could have been predicted even without the surprise in the population growth being served. On my soap box again, I hope that those who support the idea of predictability and stability, along with fantastic schools will hold the District to committing to a workable plan that will allow for some swings in student numbers without changing families around. They could build a little extra choice in, for instance, is one area becomes full and another is has some decrease and define a specific time period that it would last.

I will look forward to similar work on the High Schools in order to move forward with rational discussions.

Much of this is a result of poor planning. Just for an example is the Madison, Mercer, Denny service ares where there is excess capacity in Middle Schools

joanna said...

oops. I should have noted that Wilson Pacific was mentioned in addition to the presentation of John Marshall being used. Marshall would have the capacity in terms of numbers to more than absorb all the need in numbers, but how that would be mapped is not clear. Also the total Middle School need in the Whitman area by 2015 is +233, not 174. 174 is the number for the Whitman Middle School, not the service area.

Anonymous said...

Joanna/Melissa: Is there any way to get my hands on the spreadsheet that went with the updated agenda/presentation PowerPoint?

ScottKP

joanna said...

It is preliminary. However, I plan to attend the very beginning of the school board meeting tomorrow. I don't have legal paper here for copies but can make a 2 copies that can be put together. I am willing to make one that others can use to make copies. Or, perhaps you could ask your favorite school board member or some one in capacity management.

joanna said...

In case others have not already figured it: For copies of the presentation and the spreadsheet go to:
http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=d6403026a46ddccc6a83dfb151cb1d95&pageid=191478&sessionid=&sessionid=d6403026a46ddccc6a83dfb151cb1d95
This is the school board page, scroll down, click on 2010-2011 agendas, then go to the June 29, 2011 work session, open the agenda, and from the agenda you can access the documents.