SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Summary of Staff’s Presentation at the 2/12 Board Workshop

By Leo Bennett-Cauchon

SCUSD staff is developing an outline of preliminary facilities options in a 3 year plan format. The stated need is to provide quality educational programs with declining fiscal resources.

The stated priorities that guide the plan include equity, access and achievement for every student by name, a safe environment, family engagement and strong partnerships.

The themes from community engagement are: expand successful programs, consider all options prior to closing neighborhood schools, especially consider effects on poorer and historically under served/underachieving students, keep schools small, increase services to save schools and provide for a fair process.

Development of the facilities plan will use a systems-approach which is defined as using policy priorities and strategic plan as a frame, and a decision-impact analysis, including short and long term components.

SCUSD is right sized at the high school level with 5 schools if high school enrollment is adjusted by subtracting West Campus, Engineering and Science, Health Professions and “Dependent Charters”. Dividing this enrollment figure by a goal number of 1,800 results in an ideal of 5.

Middle School enrollment less Engineering and Science divided by a goal of 800 students indicates that SCUSD is one over at 9 sites. A goal of 900 would yield 2 over ideal.

K-8 enrollment divided by 500 students results in 4.5; by a 600 goal results in 5.5. Currently SCUSD has 5 such schools.

Elementary Schools minus dependent charters divided by 600 students results in 36 as an ideal, divided by 500 results in 43 and divided by 400 as a goal results in 54 (I added this last calculation for comparison). Currently 52 schools are in this configuration.

Specific preliminary recommendations were presented. In the first year the major impacts appear to be relocating the Marian Anderson programs, possibly co-locating the MET, expanding John Morse to Harkness and co-locating programs at Washington and Freeport.

Finally, a draft school closure criteria was shared. Eight criteria: enrollment, new home projects, reuse commitments, proximity to other schools, and % of capacity, resident attendance, busing, free/reduced lunches were given ranges and point values (1 to 3 for most criteria). It is assumed that the more points a school receives the higher its ranking will be on any closure/relocation consideration list.

An initial analysis would indicate that enrollment is the most important criteria since these points are multiplied by two for the final results. It also seems that the criteria need close inspection for a bias against established neighborhoods (no new housing projects burdens a school with 4 points); against elementary schools with many portables (age and relation to permanent buildings are not factored in), with high use of free/reduced lunch (about seven schools will receive 1 point for being below 50%, 17 schools do not get points adjusted for being at 90% or above – current highest criteria is 80%) and with historically under serviced (use of % attending).

Additional criteria that should be considered are the % of English Language Learners the number of bathrooms, and the diversity index of enrollment. Additional soft factor criteria need review.

Board Meeting Packet, Items and Presentations from the Special Board Workshop of February 12, 2009


Written by scusdobserver

February 14, 2009 at 11:18 pm

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