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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2012-2013 Transition Plan

I attended the press conference today about the 2012-2013 Transition Plan and short-term capacity management options.   (I also listened to the public input from the Board meeting about this issue.)

It was actually a full house of reporters so look for something on the tv news.  There was nothing new but here are some of the highlights:

  • I asked about Charlie's point about a student entering the system after Sep. 30th only having their attendance school or option school open to them.  Tracy said yes, that is correct and was always the case.   I guess I missed that but again, a new student arriving after Sep. 30th can't access any other school besides his/her attendance area school or option schools even if there were room available at another attendance area school.
  • The district wants to open a STEM elementary at Boren.  There is a chance they might open another elementary in that area as well but they were vague on that issue.  They were asked why not Montessori but said the community wanted STEM more. One interesting statement on this issue was from Tracy Libros saying it would be hard to get Montessori trained staff and that they had considered the idea of moving some Montessori teachers from one school (for capacity management)  to Boren and then rejected it.  (I hadn't heard this before so it came as a surprise to me.  I don't know which Montessori school she had been referencing.)
  • Sealth is overcrowded and wants a portable.  I note that several Sealth staff/parents complained about this at the Board meeting and said that they told the district when the remodel was going on that they were not adding space but actually taking it away.  Wait a minute, the community is right...again?  Go figure.  
  • I asked about Charlie's point about the geozones being more for capacity management now than helping students who live close by.  I didn't get any disagreement there from Tracy but she did say - to Charlie's point about a North Capitol hill Garfield student having more access to Cleveland STEM than someone near to Cleveland - that it didn't happen this year.  I think that's a bit tortured given that the system has been set-up so that the Capitol Hill student would get favored if there were a tussle for  a seat with a nearby Cleveland resident.
  • Brian Rosenthal from the Times asked some careful questions about where the money was coming from for these opening issues and portables.  They said there were savings from both BEX and BTA.  (Frankly, I want to see this on paper.)  They said that reopening Boren will cost between $2.8-3.1M.   Once again we were given the $135k for portable costs which is NOT what was said just a few years ago.  I find this moving target cost amusing.  
  • I asked about foreign language immersion schools becoming option schools and it was stated that it was a Board decision.  
    • From the comments at the Board meeting, I think JSIS parents do not want boundary changes.   They seem to want more enrollment over at MacDonald (since they are both foreign language immersion).  I am not clear on the details but obviously they want to keep families together.  
    The BIG news that I came away with is that BEX IV is going to have a big impact on boundary changes.   I believe that once the list is approved, parents can start looking at how those choices could impact schools near them.  If BEX IV passes, then you can really start thinking about boundary changes because what school gets what additional space will greatly influence who goes where. 

    Last interesting thing - Lynne Varner was there for the first press conference on the transition plan but left before the press conference on the Board survey results.   I was a little surprised given her concern over the superintendent issue.

    One last thing - kudos to ace reporter Phyllis Fletcher at KUOW.  Phyllis has been a steady (and welcome presence) on the education beat for several years.  She has received a promotion at KUOW to editor so we won't be seeing her around much at Board meetings. Congratulations to her and I hope whoever comes next can fill her shoes.

    8 comments:

    Phyllis Fletcher said...

    Thank you, Melissa! Your site, and your brain (and Charlie's), are great resources for any education reporter in town. Thank you again for the kind words, and for everything!

    Anonymous said...

    Phyllis, we hardly knew ye! I'm happy for you, but sad for us.

    sore loser

    Josh Hayes said...

    I agree with the sentiment thus far expressed: I often leave KUOW murmuring in the background while I work, and I ignore most of what they say, but when I hear the words "Phyllis Fletcher reports" I prick up my ears. Thanks for the light you've shone on things educational, Phyllis, and best of luck with the editorial position (and hey, maybe you could get Cliff Mass back? :-P ).

    WV says this'll put a dent in our cultre.

    Josh Hayes said...

    Is there a broad overview of BEX IV yet? It'd be nice to get a head start on worrying about stuff. :)

    mirmac1 said...

    Yeah, my worry list is getting down there. Any asteroids nearby?

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