Tuesday, December 13, 2016

School board agenda for December 13

Sorry, I was knocked out for a few weeks by a seasonal illness and have been unable to keep up the usual posting here. I’m still catching up on the lost time, but I do hope to be able to post more as we head into the holidays.

A quick summary of some of the items on the agenda for this week:

We’ll continue the discussion of the district’s anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies.

We’ll continue (and probably conclude) the discussion of how the district should handle voluntary transfer requests at the secondary level as we open a new high school and implement new boundaries. Previous posts here.

We’ll hear an update from the committee studying transportation barriers to attendance and participation in extracurricular activities at the secondary level.

We’ll review the newly updated enrollment projections.

At our work session after the meeting, we’ll discuss the issue of the district’s use of seclusion enclosures. (Previous post here.) We’ll continue our discussion of possible revisions to the district’s facilities master plan as we move toward developing a bond proposal to fund the remaining projects in the plan. We will also discuss the feedback we received through the ThoughtExchange platform.

All that and more! The full agendas are here and here; please chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.


Anonymous said...

The district says it will not discriminate based on socioeconomic status yet the district is using socioeconomic status as criteria for school assignment. It has used this criteria to determine who attends Horn, Weber, and Borlaug and it is using that criteria to decide who attends what high school e.g. Alexander and Kirkwood.

What rationale is being provided to justify the socioeconomic discrimination that is going on in the ICCSD?

Is the district going to continue to include "socioeconomic status" in their anti-discrimination policy when in fact the district is actively discriminating based on socioeconomic status?

Anyone with legal experience care to comment on this situation? Shouldn't the district have to justify with publicly verifiable evidence sending Alexander students past City High to a further away school?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 9:00am--100% but we will never get anyone to agree that this is what's happening nor will we ever get the secondary boundaries on the agenda again. I looked over the board docs regarding transportation and it does appear that there is some transportation barriers listed in the letter from the transportation committee and with longer bus rides coming up for students beginning next year, I would guess these issues will continue to increase.
"Student mobility and stability are also recognized as important factors that are much harder to control, but are often related to poverty. Interestingly, distance traveled by bus has almost no correlation to academic performance." - Brian Kirschling
It looks to me like some of the board members should really look over the data that was pulled during this committee meeting and I welcome their explanation and plan to address these needs.

Fred said...

I still can't get over how much of a waste of money the ThoughtExchange is. The attached reports are embarrassing considering how much money this cost us. The participation is completely unbalanced across schools and demographics rendering the results worthless. Many are not going to honestly respond to this if they think that their responses are being monitored by administration or their peers (especially teachers and staff in our current environment). The questions are too generic and only provide information that we already know (Question 2 in the survey is not even a question but asks for a short story???). Responses are filtered and censored so we don't see everything - only the things they want us to see. This whole program is expensive propaganda to try to pimp their agenda with the FMP. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Murley was getting some kind of kickback for going with ThoughtExchange. Okay so the results are that the most important things are HVAC, school boundaries and class size. They could have saved $100k and just asked me and I could have told them that... So sad.

Anonymous said...

The cherry picked Thought Exchange comments are obviously intended to advance the FMP.

And is there really going to be an evaluation of the superintendant? Why is this taking place AFTER his contract was recently extended?

I can't imagine any bond passing with Mr Murley still in charge. What was done to the special ed kids in this district was just bad. And the decline in academic progress detailed in the recent report to the Board was abysmal. Why is their no accountability?

Anonymous said...

Sup evaluation was already completed prior to his contract.

Chris said...

Quick clarification: The superintendent evaluation process is an ongoing process throughout the year. Finish up one cycle, start on the next. That's why it's on tonight's closed session meeting agenda.

Anonymous said...

I am not the earlier anon poster but I think they are referring to the Closed Session: Superintendent Evaluation shown in the Board Docs for tonight. What is this about if he was already evaluated prior to contract?

Anonymous said...

I know that Chris takes some heat for this blog but honestly this is far more valuable than the ThoughtExchange. Thanks Chris and keep posting!

Anonymous said...

A 1:08 : read his contract. It has a specific date by which the board is required to evaluate him.

Anonymous said...

Net open enrollment out has increased from 103.4 to 415 over the past ten years. That's a red flag that should be concerning and needs to be investigated.

Need raw data from ThoughtExchange or methodology they used to summarize results for the information to have any meaning.

Mary M said...


Has the board voted on legislative priorities? I'm against pursuing a broad general priority such as "Extend SAVE Authority" without better educating voters as to what authority school administrators are asking for.

ICCSD now has the ability to borrow against SAVE revenues to 2029. I'm assuming at least part of what the administration wants added is the ability to borrow against the SAVE sales tax revenues out to the year 2049. However, we don't know what the needs of school children will be in 2049. For example, in thirty plus years, advances in technology or how schools are organized might make at least some of current facilities all or partly obsolete for future generations.

Further, if the sales tax is extended out to 2049, a revenue purpose statement (RPS) about how the borrowed funds are to be spent requires only a majority vote of the voters (>50%) voting to vote "yes" contrasted with a bond vote, where 60% or more of voters voting must vote “yes.” That is, spending tens or even hundreds of million dollars could be decided with even less voter support if districts are able to borrow against sales tax revenues out to 2049. The plus side of being able to borrow, of course, would be that the proposed ICCSD $190 million dollar plus bond would be less; however, spending now could possibly be greater with more access to funds and it would deprive future children of access to a funding source. In addition, getting over 60% of voters to vote "yes" would show more community support for the facilities projects.

Exactly how much money would ICCSD be looking to borrow out to 2049?

The district already has the authority to borrow against the sales tax revenues out to 2029. I have no objection to schools getting the extra 1% tax (e.g. preserving the "integrity" of the 1% for schools); however, preferably, the legislature waits at least a few years before permitting districts to borrow against sales tax funds out to 2049.

Anonymous said...


I am confused by the vote on Liberty High Transfer.

The Board website says:
Motion to close Liberty High to 9th grade voluntary transfers next year with the exception to hardships. -- This means no transfer INs, correct?

The District website says(in red font): For the 2017-18 school year, Liberty High School 9th and 10th grade students will be expected to attend Liberty High School unless they can identify a hardship transfer exception...--This means no transfer OUTs, correct?

Or reading the two together, they mean no IN no OUT?

Thanks for clarifying it.

Chris said...

Anonymous (2:54) - As I understand it: students who will be 9th graders in 2017-18 will not be allowed to transfer into Liberty unless they can show a hardship. I made that motion because, even without any transfers, our projections show Liberty's enrollment to be almost 12% over its capacity in 2020-21, when those 9th graders would be seniors.

The other rule is that students who will be 9th or 10th graders in 2017-18 and who live in the Liberty zone will not be allowed to transfer out of Liberty that year unless they can show a hardship. That rule is to ensure that there are enough students attending Liberty when it opens that there can be the kind of curricular offerings that we want to be able to offer.

amy said...

ThoughtExchange is even more baloney than I thought it'd be, which is saying something.

As I recall, though, letters sent to the Board are part of public record, no? And are included in packets and online board docs? So this is easy: copypaste the ThoughtExchange questions, then answer them in a separate document, and send it as an email to the Board. Then it's part of correspondence in the meeting docs, and all you need is a link to read a long packet of real responses to the questions.

I would think it'd be difficult to ignore the views of citizens/parents who are in fact responding to the survey questions publicly but choose to do it in format other than ThoughtExchange's. I mean sure, you'd get the "other people thought these cherrypicked whosis were the most valuable", but that's immediately answerable by "only to the small minority of residents interested in your strange, hobbled little platform, here: but look! Lots of feedback from other community members answering quite thoughtfuly over here. Gosh, it's so much more complex and interesting, too."

Chris, am I wrong about that?