Last night the board voted 4-3 to change the secondary feeder plan to assign the Kirkwood Elementary area to North West Junior High and West High. I voted in favor of the change, for the reasons I wrote about here. We did not reach a conclusion about the secondary path of the Alexander Elementary area, and we scheduled a work session to continue the discussion. I favor assigning Alexander to the Southeast/City path.
During the meeting, there was some suggestion that if both Kirkwood and Alexander were assigned to West High, West’s FRL (free and reduced-price lunch) rate would be 55%. This is almost certainly inaccurate, as started to become apparent before we ended the discussion. The board (including me) should not have been asking the superintendent to estimate those numbers on the fly. I assume we will get a more finalized calculation of the relevant FRL rates before our next meeting.
The board also voted 4-3 to adopt a set of elementary boundaries, most of which are to take effect in 2019. I voted against that decision. I believe the adopted boundaries are very likely to change, possibly considerably, when the board gets updated enrollment projections and reviews the facilities master plan. The adoption of those boundaries just gives people a false sense of certainty about where their kids will go to school, and it will cause people to be that much more upset when necessary changes are made. I don’t think we’re doing anyone a service by announcing boundaries when there’s a good chance those boundaries will change within a year. (I also have disagreements with specific aspects of the boundaries the board adopted; that’s a topic for another post.)
It was a pretty contentious meeting, as they go. There is wide range of viewpoints on our board and in our community, and there is sometimes vigorous disagreement in our meetings. I’m not bothered by that; I think that’s just how democracy works, and I’d rather have the disagreements hashed out openly so we can hear all the arguments. Community comment last night was particularly valuable and at times outright moving. As contentious as our meetings can be, there’s always a part of me that just feels privileged to be there and to experience the democratic process in that way.