Monday, August 22, 2016

School board agenda for August 23

Some of the items on this week’s board agenda:

We’ll consider whether to change our policy on open enrollment and voluntary transfers at our secondary schools. Our current policy prohibits voluntary transfers into Southeast Junior High, City High, or West High, because of capacity concerns. The opening of Liberty High in 2017 will relieve some of those concerns and so is an occasion for reconsidering the policy. More info here.

We’ll also hear a “Start of School Update,” and we’ll review the board’s work session decision to ask an administrative committee to examine the issue of activity buses at the high schools once Liberty opens.

We have an exempt (non-public) session before the regular board meeting to consider whether to extend the superintendent’s contract for an additional year. (As I understand it, the standard practice is give the superintendent a three-year contract. When there are only two years left in the contract term, the board can choose to extend the contract back out to three years.) After the regular board meeting, we have a closed (also non-public) session to continue the superintendent evaluation process.

The full meeting agenda is here. Feel free to chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.


Anonymous said...

Why does ICCSD need an assistant director of special education? Is this a new or existing position?

Plus, didn't ICCSD just create a new position in equity? Can you explain this?

Thanks Chris.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing lots of comments about preliminary class sizes at local elementary schools. Very large class sizes at some schools and wide variations in class sizes at schools with similar FRL percentages. There should be more consistency in class sizes even with weighted resources.

Also, I'd like the board to track the amount of money spent on busing for balance - regular busing, activity busing, etc. It will be useful to compare the amount spent to the results we get down the road and whether or not it might have been used more effectively in other ways (i.e., more teachers or additional resources).

Anonymous said...

Hearing they have added a zero hour Chinese and plans to add back other languages. Why hasn't there been any board discussion on this topic as my understanding is we get more state funding than it costs. Seems like a major win.

Anonymous said...

Class sizes at the beginning of the year are always out of whack as they are based on "expected" registrations. Families and kids move. That's why they hold back a % of staff to address hot spots. That said, class sizes will continue to rise based on raises vs new state $.

Anonymous said...

They are going to allow open enrollment from kids not in the district but maybe not allow transfer by kids already in the district? Kids out of the district have more options now than kids in the district? Ridiculous!

If you are worried transfers will throw your nice FRL number off, how is it that out of district open enrollment not a concern for the same reason?

Karen W said...

Open enrollment into ICCSD isn't a concern for FRL number reasons because the district chooses which schools the open enrolled students attend.

Chris said...

Anonymous 9:08 -- The context we were given is that the state requires us to allow open enrollment from other districts when we have available capacity, which we'll have once the new high school opens. It's also something we generally want to encourage, since it brings money into the district. (And Karen is right that the district controls which school an open enrollee is assigned to attend.) So the open enrollment part seemed like an easy call.

We decided to schedule a further discussion of the voluntary transfer (that is, transfers within the district) piece. That was not a decision not to allow them -- in fact, we already allow them when there is available capacity. But the rules governing voluntary transfers are entirely within the district's discretion, so it made sense to spend a little more time discussing those. My own preference is to fine-tune our voluntary transfer rules, especially as we go into the transition to Liberty -- for example, I think Lincoln students who chose to transfer into Southeast should be allowed to complete the Southeast-City path without re-applying each year and being subject to capacity constraints. I proposed a number of similar departures from our usual voluntary transfer rules in a letter to the board which you can read by clicking on the link for "letter to board on boundaries and transition issues" here. So I think those issues need some further discussion. I also think there may be additional issues which we haven't anticipated but which members of the public might raise if we give a little more time to the topic.

The issue about the effect of voluntary transfers on FRL differentials did get raised last night, but I do not know whether the board will choose to put any constraints on voluntary transfers to address that concern. (As I understand it, our current voluntary transfer rules do not.) There would definitely be arguments and counterarguments about any proposal to do so, which would need to get talked out.

KJ said...

Can you explain why we have to pay for students who choose to enroll outside of the district? It sounded like a substantial amount that we are paying each year.

Chris said...

KJ -- As I understand it, it's not so much that we have to pay for students who enroll out; it's that state funding comes to us on a per-student basis, so if students enroll out, we no longer get the associated funding.

KJ said...

Thanks Chris!