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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A response to Chris Lynch’s guest opinion

My fellow board member Chris Lynch has a guest opinion in today’s Press-Citizen on the subject of secondary boundaries. As anyone who reads this blog knows, this is a topic that the board is divided on. Disagreement among the board members can be a healthy thing, especially if it means that people get to hear both arguments and counterarguments on important issues. In that spirit, here’s my take on the arguments Director Lynch raises in his article.

  • The first thing I noticed about the article is that it says nothing about the primary objection raised to Director Lynch’s proposal: the busing of kids from two of our most high-poverty neighborhoods, Kirkwood and Alexander, to more distant schools for the sake of pursuing greater socioeconomic parity at the high schools. The article does not even try to persuade the reader that the plan’s benefits outweigh its burdens for Kirkwood and Alexander families. I take the article to be implying that whatever burdens those families have to bear are justified by the other benefits of the proposal, but I would have liked to hear the main counterargument to the proposal more explicitly addressed.

  • Much of the article is arguing with a straw man: Director Lynch compares his favored proposal with a plan that would assign both Kirkwood and Alexander to West High. But in fact, neither side of this debate wants to leave both Kirkwood and Alexander assigned to West. The real alternative proposal is to assign Kirkwood to West and all or most of Alexander to City High. As a result, many of Director Lynch’s arguments falter. For example, he argues that his proposal—to remove Kirkwood from West—will keep West from becoming overcrowded, but the alternative proposal—removing Alexander from West—will also keep it from becoming overcrowded. Basically, West with Alexander looks a lot like West with Kirkwood, so it’s hard to distinguish the two proposals based on their effect on West.

  • Director Lynch’s main argument is that his proposal is the only way to prevent “programming inequity” at the high schools. I’m not surprised at this focus. Despite all the talk about the need for diversity, much of this debate has been driven by a desire for uniformity in course offerings at the three high schools—which explains why the focus on “balance” has been exclusively at the secondary level, even though the socioeconomic disparities at the elementary level are far larger. (Many of the people arguing against having fifteen- or twenty-point FRL (rate of free- and reduced-price lunch) differences at the high schools were supportive of the board’s adoption of elementary boundaries that had FRL differences of over seventy percentage points.)

    What are the programming differences that will result if we keep Kirkwood and Alexander at their nearest high schools? Director Lynch does not say. He says only that “Liberty will not have programming equity with City/West due to low/lower student enrollment.” But it has always been the plan for Liberty to start with lower enrollment, because its initial capacity will be lower. (It will be a 1000-seat school until 2022.) The district’s curricular goal for Liberty is to have at least 200 kids per class, with the understanding that juniors and seniors will not be required to attend in its initial year. On the high end, it would be unwise to have more than about 250 kids per class, since that would push the building over capacity as soon as there are four full classes there. Based on what we know about how many students are in the pipeline, keeping Kirkwood at West is the plan that puts Liberty at between 200 and 250 students per class in its initial years—thus meeting its curricular goals while avoiding overcrowding.

    Director Lynch’s proposal, on the other hand, would result in enrollment at Liberty being significantly over capacity by 2019 (the first year it will have four full classes), even without considering likely population growth in the North Corridor. And the overcrowding would get much worse before Liberty gets its addition (scheduled for 2022).

  • Director Lynch asserts that unless his proposal is adopted, “The barriers to learning will be 2-4 times higher at City/West than Liberty.” I had to stop and read that sentence multiple times, since at first I had no idea what it meant. I’m assuming that the article is equating the rate of free- and reduced-price lunch or English language instruction with a school having “higher barriers to learning.” This strikes me as an odd way to talk about the presence of poor kids or second-language English speakers in our schools. It is also inherently alarmist language; “4 times higher” may mean that one high school would have 8% of its kids in English-language instruction while another high school would have 2%—but it sounds scarier to say that “barriers to learning will be four times higher” at the former.

    Certainly some kids do face greater barriers, but the article avoids any discussion of how those kids will be better off if they are bused to different schools. That would require a discussion of whether the likely FRL rate at any school is high enough to raise educational red flags, and whether the benefit of moving kids to a different, more distant school will outweigh the burdens. The article doesn’t attempt to make those arguments.

  • Director Lynch suggests that only under his proposal can a bond be passed that will fund the remaining projects in the district’s facilities plan. It’s true that no one is under any obligation to vote for a bond, and some people may choose to express their unhappiness with the board’s policies by voting “no” on any bond. But this kind of argument is circular: everyone likes to think that their plan is the one the community likes best. Director Lynch says that the community and the board “collectively spent thousands of hours” developing his proposal, but in fact there was a great deal of opposition to busing-for-balance at the district’s listening posts. What’s especially noticeable about the argument on bond passage, though, is the absence of any acknowledgement that Kirkwood and Alexander residents will also play a role in whether a bond passes. In the discussion of bond passage, those voters don’t seem to exist.

  • Director Lynch argues that “anything that looks like segregation” has “no place in the Iowa City Community School District.” There is no doubt that the housing patterns that make it harder to diversify some of our schools are the result of a history of discrimination. Whether our high schools need to have nearly equal socioeconomic profiles to avoid “looking like segregation,” however, is another question, especially if that goal requires treating low-income families worse than other families, by putting greater burdens on them and by being more willing to disregard their input. How best to improve the lives of kids from low-income families is a hard question that can’t be reduced to simply equalizing numbers—as Director Lynch has essentially acknowledged by supporting elementary boundaries that have enormous disparities in socioeconomic and racial diversity and that look much more like segregation than anything proposed at the high school level.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want socioeconomic balance at the secondary schools. Unfortunately, though, that balance cannot be achieved—at least not through traditional attendance zones—without busing hundreds of kids from low-income families every year to more distant schools. I remain unconvinced that those kids will be made better off through that kind of plan, and I do not see the likely socioeconomic differences at the high schools as being large enough to justify burdening those kids in that way.

Related posts here, here, and here.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are clusters of poverty and wealth in this town. Inevitably some of the schools are located in these clusters, resulting in poor and rich schools. The effort to balance the FRL numbers among these schools is a busing policy because there is no other mathematically possible way to achieve balanced numbers if we don't bus kids around. So it is a busing policy and let's just call it that.

It has been constant, clear and precise, that all parents value proximity regardless of their financial status. The busing policy deviates from this and offends the community.

It is also true that the busing policy places heavier burden on the less affluent, much heavier I would argue. The group that the busing policy pretends to "help" suffer the greatest loss under this policy.

Further, the same group that supports the busing policy in the name of equal FRL numbers are the same group that condones great disparity of these numbers at the elementary level. Their motive is questionable.

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I would be willing to bus some kids some reasonable distance to improve diversity. I think everyone on the board agrees - it's just a disagreement over what "reasonable" is. To me what would help is sharing the burden between low income and non-low income students. Under Mr Lynch's plan diversity is largely being obtained by busing poor kids to their nonlocal school. Can't we also obtain diversity by busing wealthy kids to their nonlocal school? That seems to be taken off the table as soon as some of these parents complain. Sending more kids from the south side of the proposed Liberty attendance area to City and West would therefore help.

And we should keep in mind that there is not much real difference between going 2 miles to high school and going 5 miles to high school. But it is a long way from Alexander to NWJH.

Perhaps getting away from the obsession with dedicated feeder schools would help find a compromise acceptable to all.

Regarding the bond issue, there are more than enough reasons to vote no without considering the diversity issue.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...southside of the Liberty area would be Grant Elementary, which is directly across the street from Liberty. Assign Grant Elementary to City or West? South of Grant, Wickham is already assigned to West. Plus, then you have the issue of overcrowding City and Liberty being under-capacity. Are you suggesting moving Grant Elementary out of Liberty to make room for Kirkwood Elementary? This does not help the burden placed on Kirkwood.

Anonymous said...

South of Liberty also has the North Lincoln kids. Move those kids to West, as they use to go there anyway.

Chris said...

Anonymous 3:42: That is a reasonable question that many have raised -- why can't we accomplish this by busing kids from families that are relatively well off, instead of busing kids from high-poverty areas? The logistics, however, make the latter unavoidable if we are going to use attendance zones to pursue balance. There is simply no way, given our current demographics, to diversify Liberty High without busing kids from high-FRL areas there who are closer and more convenient to the other high schools. Similarly, if one were to propose busing a low-FRL area into City or West, some other set of students would have to leave to make room for them -- and if it's not a higher-FRL set of students, there would be no gain in balance.

As for the extent to which the busing of Kirkwood and Alexander puts real burdens on them, I wish that's where the focus of the discussion was, though I am inclined to take their concerns seriously, especially since it's easy for those of us who would be unaffected by the busing to minimize those concerns. If the plan is really driven by a desire to make kids from low-income families better off (is it?), I’d like to see some real buy-in by those families before going ahead with it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the proposed boundary between City and Liberty essentially I-80? Why is the River Heights neighborhood going to Liberty? Wouldn't River Heights to City make more sense?

Making I-80 the boundary between City and Liberty is an invitation to disaster given how much future development is and will occur (by wealthy families) north of the Interstate.

Get away from the obsession that all kids who went to the same elementary or junior high have to go to the same high school.

Anonymous said...

If “anything that looks like segregation” has “no place in the Iowa City Community School District," how in the world do you explain the boundaries of Kirkwood/Coralville Central/Wickham? In FRL terms, that's 71.13/46.58/1.94. How can you be outraged at a 15% difference in FRL at the secondary level but let slide an almost 70% disparity at the elementary level where there were contiguous boundaries that could have been modified to achieve balance? In the words of Anon at 1:55, it is "questionable."

I can be swayed to either side of this argument. I really want a consistent philosophy that is applied at all schools and at all levels. The "walkability for elementary"/"balance for secondary" mish-mash smacks of political opportunism.

Anonymous said...

Chris, thank you for your response to Lynch's op-ed. I also really appreciate you and Director Roetlin's op-ed pieces that were published in the last few weeks regarding secondary boundaries. I agree with not only everything you stated in this blog post but also with many of the comments posted. As an Alexander parent who has been very involved with the secondary boundary discussion and it’s potential effect on our students and families, I find it concerning that there is such a fear about placing Alexander at CHS. What is it exactly that people are afraid of? It’s like they are saying they want diversity but not TOO much diversity and definitely NOT the diversity our school has to offer. Have we been given any solid research on high FRL percentages at the high school level? These are the same people that get up at board meetings and claim that they know what’s best for my child and Alexander students and families. It‘s ridiculous. Have they ever stepped foot into our school? NO!! Have they taken the time to come and meet with our families? NO!! No one has in fact. We have yet to have an elected school board official step foot in our neighborhood (not our school, because many of you have) to hear the concerns of the families, to educate families on the secondary boundaries. The board wants community input? Come down to our neighborhood and host an event at the park and invite Alexander families to come and talk with school board members. It was said at the board table (not by you) that the parents from Kirkwood and Alexander that have chosen to speak up at board meetings are not being representative of our school and what our schools want and therefore our concerns do not matter. Why? Because we are not FRL parents (although no one verified my child‘s status) nor considered a minority parents (actually in our school I am)? They insinuated that we are merely inconvenienced by the boundaries and that’s what we are upset about. Is this truly how people feel about the Alexander and Kirkwood families that have gotten up and spoken out against these boundaries? Do they truly think that we don’t want the best education for our children? This couldn't be further from the truth. I know the families that these boundaries will affect, I’ve worked with them in the community and I‘ve seen 1st hand the barriers they face on a daily basis. I am still in belief that many of our families have no idea about the secondary boundaries because no one has bothered to educate them. I spoke with a parent that said they were ok with the decision to switch from their current elementary school to Alexander when it opened but they were NOT informed that we would be headed out to NWJH and WHS for their secondary education. Apparently the previous board was able to slide that huge detail under the rug.
If this comes off as an attack on you, I apologize as that’s NOT my intent. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had it when it comes to the elitist attitude that some board members and parents in this district have when it comes to secondary boundaries and their idea that they know what's best for our school. I’m tired of our voices and concerns not being heard. Until those same parents and board members have a child in a school that is 75% FRL, please do NOT attempt to tell me that you know what's best for my child.

Michael Colleran said...

This district needs to be very careful about its approach to education. Education by number as in moving for percentages overshadows what is most important with what doesn't work.

Moving kids and shifting boundaries creates instability. This district needs firm school areas and then the development of faculty and staff at each school so that they can best serve their students. And create community!

A multimillion dollar experiment was tried where they put low income kids into schools with less than 20% low FRL populations and the gains we very small.

They also put low income students into schools above 20% FRL and there were no gains over 6 years.

This district is playing with fire by making this a numbers game. We need a return to stability and an emphasis on creating community. Otherwise we will watch the district splinter and good will evaporate.

Anonymous said...

Related to the upcoming special election: the issue of the boundary is too important to be decided by one vote, or a simple majority vote. I understand that is how the board operates. However, a vote of 4-3, in either direction, signals a great divide in the community. We need to work on that divide rather than throwing the one vote to the other side and impose the "winning" side's "solution" on the "losing" side. Let's be honest: the only losing party is the children in this meaningless tug of war!

Anonymous said...

My low-income kids went to an elementary that was two blocks from our house. We loved the proximity but hated the low achievement. We were forced to choose between proximity and achievement. We chose achievement, but our request for transfer was denied. My kids didn't get the same quality of education that others in the district did. Not by a long shot.

Schools k-12 need to be balanced with regard to FRL as much as possible, and whenever possible, it should be the more affluent who are bused.

CHS 88 said...

Can you please write a response to Mrs.Hayek's lame Little Village letter to the editor? Here is the link if you haven't seen it: http://littlevillagemag.com/iowa-city-community-schools-balance-schools-minimize-barriers-frl-busing/

Anonymous said...

Her little piece is so off the mark that I don't even know where to start...

She wrote: "...They fail to mention that most students at Alexander and Kirkwood are not in walking distance of any of the high schools. Further, the May 2015 plan included school-paid busing, making it unnecessary for students to pay out-of-pocket..."

I am going to explain this to her as if she is a five year old.

In case you don't know, we have something called the feeder system. Even if they are not in walking distance to the high schools, Kirkwood and Alexander are going to significantly farther junior highs. Many Kirkwood families can see NW from their windows but now they are riding a bus heading north to North Central and they will pass the Wickham kids who will be riding south to NW on 12th Avenue, when a lot of the Wickham kids are within a mile of North Central. So kids, be nice and wave when your buses pass each other, OK?

In case you don't know, not everything happens during school hours. There are those annoying little things called "extracurricular activities" that take place when school buses are not running. What do you do when school buses are not running? You provide your own transportation. What do you do if you don't have your own transportation, because you can't afford one? Sucks to be you: you can't go to those annoying "extracurricular activities".

So there you have it. I hope I did a decent job explaining this to a five year old.

Anonymous said...

So so sick of these pro-FRL busing idiots. No one who is going to be impacted wants it. Those pushing it say it is to help the people who have said they don't want it. I'm curious; Is it a micro aggression to tell people they don't know what's best for their kids or is it just being an asshat?

Anonymous said...

I read Hayek's letter and the only thing that I saw was do anything possible to pop up City High. She didn't really care much about the elementary disparity. I am just so sick and tired of this City High mob. Thanks to her though, I know who I will NOT vote for in the special election. NO ONE should vote for Paul Roesler if they truly care about the children.

Anonymous said...

I came here looking to see if others have the same thoughts and questions I do. I am so glad to read that others see the same problems with this busing idea. It is terribly racist and classist. And the supporters have no idea what it is like to live in poverty with transportation challenges. I will not be voting for anybody that supports busing, because I don't believe the families living in Alexander or Kirkwood neighborhoods would support it. Thank you to all that commented above. I echo your thoughts and concerns!

Anonymous said...

Nice educational blog.
cbse school Pandharpur

Anonymous said...

If the school board - after constructing a new high school at taxpayer expense - votes then to:
1) leave West at near capacity (over capacity in the 2nd year of Liberty), and

2) create an INITIAL disparity of FRL of nearly double at the secondary schools,

then the The failure of the 2017 GO Bond will be the least of the Board's worries. I am sure state BOE referral, Board removal action, and lawsuit(s) would follow. You can't construct and populate a white high school and expect the community to stand for it.

By favoring the needs of a few hundred "underserved" by damaging property values and families of the balance of the 13,000 students in the district, the ones that actually PAY for these schools and activities, the Board would be negligent and liable.

Anonymous said...

The chance of passing this bond didn't look any better 1 year ago. And the district takeover that tried to enforce an unproven bussing policy certainly deserves the lion's share of blame. Look at the other districts that have tried bussing policy. They all splinter and weaken. It's like death by a thousand cuts. The in fighting, name calling, bullying, threats, lawsuits, disgruntled teachers, parents, people fleeing for stability, it all adds up and it erodes good will and the quality of the community. The only thing worse than ending it now is letting it continue.

Murley wasn't able to manage the situation 6 years ago and things haven't gotten any better. I'd expect a search for his successor to follow this election. And district's don't pass bond's when they are searching for a superintendent. So there's that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:05 was the new high school built under the condition that it be built only if there is a busing policy in place in the ICCSD? Cause I must have missed that.

Anonymous said...

Let's stop pretending.

THEY.ARE.ALREADY.ON.BUSES.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:21,
High schools require buses. High schools built further from population centers require more buses and longer trips. Can't avoid that.

Or by "busing", are you meaning to invoke the 1960s and 70s as a scare tactic?
Who cares if some have a longer bus ride, ESPECIALLY those with barriers. They are doing it for the better of the district as a whole...and many don't pay a dime for ANY of it.

Anonymous said...

Crappy plan brought to the district by a bunch of east siders who want to bus poor and/or black kids elsewhere and bring in white and asian kids. All under the banner of socioeconomic status which is nothing more than is a proxy for race. Using race to determine who can attend what school is flat out illegal and using socioeconomic status as a proxy for race is also flat out illegal. The polls will tell the story tonight but those in favor of this plan are concentrated in very distinct areas of Iowa City. And it's not going to go well for them or the ICCSD in the courts if they get their way.

Anonymous said...

Again, they are already on buses. Free buses to take them to and from their free school to get their free education , eat their free lunch, and participate (again, for free) in extracurricular activities.

Anonymous said...

Just not on your side of town. Don't want them feeling welcome where they live. Don't want them feeling like they are good enough. Don't want them spreading their black and poor all over your $30 million dollar City High make over.

You just don't want em.

KJ said...

Is this real life? Do we have people in our community that actually feel this way? I mean, I think we all knew that there was a group like this out there but to actually see it in writing is pretty terrifying.
"Who cares if some have a longer bus ride, ESPECIALLY those with barriers. They are doing it for the better of the district as a whole...and many don't pay a dime for ANY of it".
"Again, they are already on buses. Free buses to take them to and from their free school to get their free education , eat their free lunch, and participate (again, for free) in extracurricular activities".

I sincerely hope that the board considers integrating the elementary schools in the same form that they have done for secondary schools. Start bussing the wealthy schools down south and make things fair and equitable across the district. It's only fair that if Alexander and Kirkwood take the brunt of the secondary integration that some of our schools with very low FRL numbers take the brunt at the elementary level.

Anonymous said...

Well put KJ let's start with Shimek.

Anonymous said...

Was there a "$30 million dollar City High makeover" I missed?

Maybe it comes later, after the $60M dollar new high school is completed to bring City High to somewhat better than the worst 4A (probably 3A as well) facility in the state...still many unconditioned classrooms, tiny cafeteria, smallest 4A gym in the state, inadequate parking, etc.

But by all means, make it the highest ELL and FRL % school as well. Also, keep West at full capacity.

Someone has to be bused...that was set when they located Liberty.

KJ said...

Anon 10:42, I don't think anyone is denying that upgrades are needed across the district. To assume that is completely ridiculous. And you're right, someone does need to be bussed but as we heard over and over and over again in this election, we need to integrate and not segregate. Which is why I propose sending some of our wealthier schools down south at the elementary level. This would be a direct correlation of what Paul's campaign motto was if in fact he was for integrating and equity.

Anonymous said...

The half-truths continue.... Your threats of lawsuits and Board recalls are divisive jackassery. Your representation of the capacity argument is incorrect. It isn't overcrowding at West that is the issue; it is the overcrowding at Liberty. The numbers tell the story.

"1) leave West at near capacity (over capacity in the 2nd year of Liberty)"

West would be at 97% capacity in 2019 with Kirkwood vs Liberty being at 109% capacity with Kirkwood. Bigger overcrowding at Liberty.

West would be at 102% capacity in 2021 with Kirkwood vs Liberty being at 121% capacity with Kirkwood. Bigger overcrowding at Liberty.

You forgot to mention that the second year (2018) Liberty only has 9-11th grade. Make sure to mention that in your lawsuit....

The truthful statement from you on capacity would be 1) I expect the Board to overcrowd Liberty by 109% in 2019 while leaving West at 85% capacity and by 121% in 2021 while leaving West at 89% in 2021.

Capacity-wise, what you are suggesting does not align with the current FMP. Would you be willing to accelerate the addition at Liberty to accommodate Kirkwood students? Or, delay moving Kirkwood to Liberty until the capacity is available?

Does the "we play the most taxes" argument have a place in the public school district? How does that play out for our low-income schools?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:42. What you state is incorrect. You haven't seen the bond? Really? City High is the biggest recipient of bond funds.

City High in Fall 2021 is getting $30.4M in additions, gym and cafeteria expansions, upgrades, accessibility, IT, athletic improvements and air conditioning. That is a year ahead of the 500 seat addition at Liberty.

Liberty being very over-capacity with Kirkwood is a bigger problem than West being just at capacity with Kirkwood.

Anonymous said...

This is truly awful. This is the sentiment behind the "2015 boundaries are best" effort?

"Who cares if some have a longer bus ride, ESPECIALLY those with barriers. They are doing it for the better of the district as a whole...and many don't pay a dime for ANY of it."

Anonymous said...

So I guess I didn't miss the City High $30 Million dollar makeover, because 1) it hasn't happened, 2) it won't unless and until the GO Bond passes, and 3) even if the GO Bond passes the work won't be completed until (at best) 2021.

Meanwhile (that is, dating back decades)...City High will continue to have the poorest facilities of any 4A school.

In addition, we should call it what it is...a long overdue upgrade to bring City High to an acceptable facility standard for an Iowa 4A school. It's not a present. The Iowa City taxpayers had to subsidize Liberty being built to perhaps someday get this "makeover". Quite a deal.

Anonymous said...

The "2015 Boundaries" were "best" because after numerous citizen-driven forums and work groups, the 2015 Board voted 6-1 in favor of the scenario overwhelmingly preferred by those groups.

It's not ideal. It's not even real good. But it was (and still is) best.

People overwhelmingly preferred neighborhood elementary schools over trying to more closely balance FRL. So that's that. ICCSD does not control zoning, housing prices, or where people live. So neighborhood schools will lead to an FRL and diversity imbalance.

But HIGH SCHOOLS AREN'T NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS. The citizen committee and the 2015 Board felt that striving for FRL balance and diversity in secondary schools was both desirable and - more importantly - feasible. Students are already in cars or on buses, so the desire would be the have the best environment for the MOST students. Not all the kids, the MOST students.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that some people feel Alexander students cannot go to West and Kirkwood students can't go to Liberty?

What is the practical or logistical difference?
* The distances are nearly the same
* Everyone currently riding a bus will still be able to ride a bus.
* ICCSD has promised activity buses...though HS students do without them pretty well currently.

KJ said...

Anon 1:24, I totally understand what you're saying but...I think what people fail to realize is that Alexander wasn't even a school when these discussions happened so they didn't have a voice per se. Kirshling even said it at the board table when Alexander families were speaking up that he couldn't figure out where the Alexander families were coming from until he remembered that these discussions were had before we had a school, community within the school and a PTO. Your other point that high school's are not neighborhood schools, you are correct but...for some of our families walkability is a must. While 1.3 miles may seem far to some, it is an everyday occurrence for many of our families and we don't have that option at NWJH or WHS.

Anonymous said...

So now that Kirkwood will go to Liberty, and Alexander to West - can we at last agree that City High will not need it's addition (still needs upgrades) because it will be under capacity without Alexander. The board needs to seriously look at scratching the City addition and moving up the Liberty addition.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45

Spot On!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 145

Of course you're assuming the bond will pass - which I have serious doubts about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:14

More half truths!

1) We are now clear on it being Liberty that will be overcrowded, not West, as initially reported. You expect the Board to overcrowd Liberty by 109% in 2019 while leaving West at 85% capacity and by 121% in 2021 while leaving West at 89% in 2021. Would you be willing to accelerate the addition at Liberty to accommodate Kirkwood students? Or, delay moving Kirkwood to Liberty until the capacity is available?

2) You have seen the bond. Now you missed that the $30.4M of projects are planned complete Fall of 2021.

3) Additional high school capacity has been needed for years. Our high schools are still overcrowded even after the first of two additions at City. Liberty isn't some kind of favor from IC taxpayers. It's needed high school capacity. Liberty is opening in 2017. City gets its upgrades and additions in 2021, not "someday". Liberty gets its addition in 2022.

4)If you are convinced the bond won't pass, why are we sending Kirkwood to Liberty? If the bond doesn't pass, Liberty will be at more than 121% capacity. Kirkwood would likely need to be moved back out since West will only be at 89%.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what addition is planned at City High other than the cafeteria and a new gym, which are both needed regardless of number of students. I agree that City and West definitely don't need any classroom seats added.

If you "scratch" catching City High up on overdue facilities, the GO Bond is guaranteed to fail.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30,

It's important to note that these are all projected projects with projected timing of delivery.

In my opinion, the 2017 bond will only pass if:
1) it is attached to a specific list of projects in a specific order and timing, with no wiggle room.
2) it is attached to a specific boundary plan, or a boundary plan previously approved.
3) the board delineates exactly what will happen if the bond does not pass, e.g. specific feeder changes, project delays and cancellations.

Any decent business seeking funds would be able to do the above, and get their money. I'm not so sure about this board.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30

I support the bond but what you suggest has some issues. Things like enrollment projections change over time. For example, I can't see building an addition in 8 years at a school that does not need it because enrollment dropped. That's bad business. Same applies to boundary plans.

Anonymous said...

It is very clear that without Alexander, City and SEJH do NOT need their additions. Renovations - Yes Absolutely. But no additions are needed at either school. Using the district provided age progressions neither school reaches 100% of current capacity use for the next 9 years! Furthermore, there is not a consistent trend showing growth at either of these schools like there is with Liberty/NCJH and to a lesser degree with West/NWJH.

Will this new board do the responsible thing and cancel the City and SEJH additions in order to be more likely to pass the bond so the community can see that they are being responsible with taxpayer money? Or will they be trying to force some kids back into City High to bump up their numbers to justify additions? Time will tell. Their actions are important for the bond to pass. My prediction is they will try to force North Lincoln back to City first, and then a few years down the road they will be after Wickham again.

They better do the right thing; and the official enrollment projections gathered this coming year need to be done VERY SOON so that they can inform and guide the writing of the bond. They also need to inform the FMP revision that will be necessary to add seats earlier at NCJH & Liberty now that Kirkwood will be assigned there again.

Anonymous said...

Solid predictions. Lincoln was already mentioned earlier in this thread. They might try to kick Van Allen or Grant out of NCJH and Liberty to balance FRL more and to prevent the need for accelerating the additions at NCJH and/or Liberty. Paul has mentioned moving Van Allen out and someone brought up Grant earlier in this thread.

You are onto something.

Anonymous said...

If, as seems inevitable, the "Bus Alexander and Kirkwood Plan" will now go forward, the best thing to do would be to broaden the type and number of people who are affected by the busing. Otherwise the impact of the program will fall too heavily on minority students and legal troubles will result. There needs to be more nonminority and nonpoor kids inconvenienced as well. Chris, I know that you think this would only have a minor impact on the overall numbers but anything that helps and which affects nonminority students needs to be considered.

The bond is sunk - as it should be. Make the best of the facilities that you have before building more as there may be no money to do anything else. The decision to destroy Hoover I and build Hoover II may look real bad if/when the bond fails.

Anonymous said...

Why would I support money for the ICCSD? The district lacks leadership and is split on educational policy with the busing issue. Not to mention the reports that the ICCSD is fostering a culture of retaliation.

NO to the BOND until this district has quality leadership and all parties within the district are put in check.