As I mentioned in my last post, there were some preliminary estimates of the free and reduced-lunch (FRL) that would result from assigning both Kirkwood and Alexander elementaries to West High. This has led to some erroneous information finding its way around. The district has now posted more finalized calculations of those rates. They show a 36% FRL rate at City High, a 34% rate at West High, and a 20% rate at Liberty High, under the enrollment we have today in the three secondary zones that have been drawn, assuming that both Kirkwood and Alexander are assigned to West.
There will be disagreement about whether that range of numbers is acceptable, and the updated information raises some legitimate concerns about capacity usage. My own view is that we still need to make additional changes to the secondary boundary plan.
Again, the board is still working through this issue and has scheduled a work session to continue its discussion of it. Under state law, we simply can’t discuss these issues as a group except in our scheduled board meetings and work sessions. As a result, the process does not always proceed as quickly and linearly as we would all like. On a difficult and controversial issue, that can understandably make people anxious, but it’s just part of the process that has to occur to reach a conclusion.
The board members have some disagreement about how to weigh the value of parity in the FRL rates against the concrete realities of assigning high-poverty areas to schools that are farther away and harder to get to, as well as about other aspects of the issue. (See this post.) But I don’t doubt that all of my fellow board members—including those I disagree with—are trying to reach an outcome that is best for the district’s kids and especially for the kids who need the most help.