Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Now you know 4 . . .

In an earlier post, I shared the chart showing building capacity and the concerns that many have expressed with it.  Specifically, the column titled Tahoma max capacity***, is one that was difficult to identify and has been questioned by many.  The concern being expressed is that the numbers in this column give the impression that we have room for additional enrollment in all of our buildings.

How can we say that we are overcrowded if we have room in all buildings?  That is the question that emerges in people's minds when reviewing the chart and is not what we intended for the column to do.  The intent was the opposite.  We wanted it to signal to people that we have a problem today that will become more critical and difficult to solve with additional enrollment, but we can maintain our current program with some revisions until the max number is reached in each grade level configuration.  Instead of creating a sense of urgency it did the opposite while also making it difficult for many to accept the fact that we are overcrowded.  Most people don't compare the Design capacity columns to the enrollment column to see that we are full.

The column was also designed to provide a timeline for the community to understand when significant program changes will be necessary if we cannot add classrooms.  In reflection, I believe that answering the question about when will double shifting or multi-tracking be necessary resulted in creating the max column.  I still believe that is a question many have and that the system has a responsibility to answer.  But, could it have been done without creating the column is the question that I continue to struggle with. Yes, we could have taken the position that we are full and in the absence of new space we will need to implement other delivery models, but the bond measure is designed to not reach that point keeping the focus on the need for new classrooms.

It is good to reflect, but a continued focus on the column and what could or should have been done is wasted energy.  For now, the chart is public and may or may not be used in the future.  Though it is questioned and did not achieve the intended results, it was our attempt to be transparent; something that I believe is an essential quality of our school system's culture.

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