Tuesday, February 24, 2009

School Board Liveblog

School Board Liveblog

Someone else will have to tell you what the President said; I'm at the School Board. Probably about 200 people here. One scenario in district proposals calls for closing Roosevelt School (disclaimer: I'm a Roosevelt dad)

Klouda, Plugge: Acceptance of plan is not approval of all items.

Plugge: First focus of plan is Roosevelt, Weber, Horn, Kirkwood, second focus is high schools. Then presentation moves to Roosevelt's weaknesses. Least expensive plan is closing Roosevelt, most expensive plan is building new school on Roosevelt site; renovations to Roosevelt falls in between. New Camp Cardinal school needs built no matter which plan. Longfellow and Mann plans are down the road.

Cooper: I'm not ready to vote on a plan that feels like it's doing something to Roosevelt (applause). Klouda: No, it's just a working document, we can send it back to be revised. We don't have to vote on it, we can just work with it.

Cilek: The older schools are more expensive and facilities not as good.

Cooper: Do we have to vote on it? Klouda: Just a guideline, I think the community misunderstands (audience scoffs) but we don't have to vote. Cilek: I don't think we vote, we just accept a document.

Shaw: We need to acknowledge how full this room is.

Fields: do we want to include optimal sq ft per kid? Plugge: varies by grade.

Fields: A working document with annual review, not a Masterplan. Cilek: as we get community input plan will change. Cooper: the things that aren't in there are still a concern: City High gym? Mann Elevator? Shaw: We'll pull parts out in sequence.

Krumm: Annual review; no point in accepting plan if it creates (unneccessary) anxiety. What's best way to engage the community? (chuckles in audience) Cilek chides crowd a bit.

Shaw: is web site input set up yet? Plugge: will do. Shaw: I hope we see this many people still here at end of process.

Klouda: People think my mind's made up, not true. All these decisions affect the whole district. Difficult tradeoffs.

Fields: need to work with the cities. Shaw: Don't forget UHeights! Audience member: "Let The People Speak!" Cilek: Audience, be respectful. We have a tough job making the decisions as your elected officials. I'm frustrated that people think we're not getting public feedback. (Audience member: "You're ignoring us!" Other ambers: "Shh" at the counterproductive strategy.)

About 20 people are signed up to speak; Cilek says please talk about general plan but I understand you have specific concerns. (My battery may not last the whole way.)

Rachel Zimmerman Smith: Should have used community as your consultant rather than outside firm. Questions school size in plan; what will happen with the smaller schools? We like smaller neighborhood schools. Smaller schools have good test scores. Does economic efficiency outweigh educational performance? We need a parent committee, and Board members need to not just rely on staff. It's condescending to imply we don't understand. Don't accept, send it back for revisions, involve public

Single mom (Beth, I think?) gives them all she's got, I can't do it justice.

Charles Stannard: Plan flawed, send it back. Bias against older schools. Do Version 2 and make it more transparent.

Patty McCarthy, NW Jr High PTO: we like the locker replacement, we have petitions for it. The Roosevelt heavycrowd applauds politely.

Lori Enloe: we need to address Roosevelt inequities before a new school is built. We need more info.

Mary Knutson-Dion, Miller-Orchard neighborhood: we have a weak voice with a largely renter neighborhood. Lincoln, Mann and Longfellow have stronger voices. We're working to improve our neighborhood and the school is key. In a low income neighborhood transportation matters and a neighborhood school is important (Aside: I see lots of cabs, meaning car-less parents, dropping kids off at school when I take the boys)

Battery gone. Will update more after I'm home and plugged in.

Brandon Ross: Neighborhoods good, sprawl bad.

Followup: Board takes no formal action re: plan.

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