At last night’s work session, the school board took some of its first steps toward discussing the elementary redistricting that will go into effect when we open two new elementary schools in 2019. We’ve been laying the groundwork for some time (by, for example, inviting public input), but tonight felt like the icebreaker for our own discussion. The discussion was still pretty preliminary—most of it was about what kind of maps and data we’d like to see before we start developing boundary ideas—but we’ll be moving onto more specific ideas very soon.
I know the board will be under a lot of scrutiny as we talk this topic through, as it should be. Some people will have to change schools as a result of the decisions we have to make, and we won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s preferences, so it’s easy to see why people feel strongly about the topic. To me, that just makes it all the more important that we have candid, uninhibited discussions at the board table. I don’t think we can reach a good result without going through a phase of brainstorming and thinking out loud. I hope people will understand that just because a board member raises a possibility, that doesn’t mean he or she is dead set on doing that thing or even thinks it’s a good idea. I’m sure I’ll say some things and take them back five minutes later. I’ll probably also play devil’s advocate to question ideas that I actually like. I just think that kind of conversation is the only way to figure out what the best (or least bad) possible outcome is.
In that spirit, I’m going to try (time permitting!) to write some posts here as we along. Again, these posts will just reflect partial, often very tentative thoughts (which is exactly what blogging is suited for). The whole point of airing them will be to hear the pros and cons and counterarguments. I would love it if people would chime in with comments. I can’t promise to reply to each comment, simply because of my time constraints. When I have too many comments (and emails) to keep up with, that’s sometimes a good problem to have.
I can speak only for myself, but I don’t go into this process with a fixed idea of what the final map should be. If anything, I’m confounded by what it should be.