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379 total votes
What a disaster by CC4E to release recommendations prior to releasing and discussing their findings on facilities. The proposal that was rejected 4-1 by the voters is currently in the lead.
Fire, ready, aim.
For about a year I attended numerous "community meetings" led by a professional group which came up with numerous solutions. We ended up choosing the current option 5. When put to vote the plan got clobbered by the voters.
Now, after more than a year later, that same plan is an option? Is this some sort of a sad joke? The opposition group claimed to have a better plan based on better demographics at a lesser cost etc etc.
I'm waiting for that better plan.
It is a sad joke.
A professional demographer was hired and came back with a report forecasting significantly different K-5 future in 5 years. We have the data to know what is needed to deal with overcrowding within the predicable future.
So what happens? The facilities group decides they are more expert than the professional demographer and comes up with their own forecasts for 10 and 20 years. Their own data shows that growth rates have seriously changed twice in the past 20 years so that over 10 years the difference from before and after has been 20%. Which, to anyone that cares about data should be proof positive that we cannot pretend to make decisions based upon claims of enrollment forecasts for 10 or 20 years.
What the facilities task force did with a professional demographer's 5 years forecasts to create 10 and 20 years forecasts is worse than Western Demographics report. At least Western Demographics properly used cohorts for existing grades so that grades 5-12 were reasonable forecasts. But what facilities did for their "analysis" is pure speculation. They have fallen in love with the idea of a consistent predictable 1.7% growth rate as if that was an ordained Truth.
How in the world did we hire a professional demographer to use sound methodology to make 5 years forecasts only for others to make up 10 and 20 year forecasts and those 10 and 20 year forecasts be the ones that matter when considering solutions?
Option #5 is now at 19 votes out of 28? And Trump won the election, Hawaii has more snow than Steamboat and I'm still alive witnessing all this.
Indeed I am still in favor of #5. But this is the same thing we went through a couple years ago. People liked the plan before it was put on the ballot. Once on the ballot the opposition crushed it.
Perhaps it was the exorbitant price tag.
There should be a "None of the above" option in this poll.
I was at the election night event for the Better Plan folks when Overlook lost 4-1. About everyone there had stories of trying to provide input for different than Overlook that was ignored or not accepted because decisions had already been made. That is what the CC4E process is supposed to avoid.
You don't form a committee to work for a year with the expectation of a minimal solution, but that may be the wise solution. Looks to me that the region where there are more students that elementary schools is downtown. Thus, the logical place to add capacity is SCE and that should be all that is needed for 5-7 years in which we have reasonably accurate forecasts. Likewise, MS and HS just need modest additions to handle the bubble that results from 2007-2009 births as 2010-2016 births results in an extended period of flat enrollment at lower levels. I think the bigger need at the HS are more science classrooms than an expansion to handle more students.
And then say something like keep getting professional demographics reports and if birth rate increases or if there is major growth then use the following guidelines on how to handle that situation. If we had student growth anything comparable to what was forecast in the earlier Western Demographics report then options like these would make much more sense. But these options are to handle speculated future growth which it is reasonable to wait and see what actually happens.
I would also note that charter schools tend to be stable (as they have funding) and it is more likely that more charter schools will open over time than the Montessori charter school closes. Thus, it makes no sense to build spare capacity to handle a collapse of the Montessori, but to have an emergency contingency plan of where modular classrooms would be placed, etc in case of that event.
I think there also needs to be a lot of discussion on what to do about PreK because that is not funded for all at the state level. It is far from clear that a school district does PreK better or at a lower cost than private preschools. It would be extremely costly to say we need new elementary schools because we want to move preK for at risk kids from 7th street into the elementary schools.
Likewise, the stated objective to move YVHS (alternative HS) into the HS is also very questionable. If they would be happy and fine in the HS then they would be in the HS. That there is an alternative HS recognizes that there are kids that for whatever reasons do not want to be in the general HS.
Ken, my good friend thanks for joining the conversation and I appreciate your "non of the above comment". I simply want to know where is that "better plan"?
The group that mobilized to stop the last facilities bond issue sold the community the idea that there was a better plan. Many of us remember the following opposition groups stated purpose."We are pro-education citizens who believe that Steamboat deserves a better option than the one proposed. Our purpose is to educate others on the drawbacks of this plan and encourage the district to look at better options."
So, where are those better options? Personally, I am open to better options. The families of Steamboat deserve updated and less crowded facilities.
CC4E a group of dedicated volunteers, much like the good citizens who proposed the last bond issue want what is best for Steamboat. Nevertheless, is there a plan that the community will get behind?
Ken, I remember our first conversation where you described your home town. You said that there was such pride in the schools that if the schools needed anything the community was always ready to give them what they needed. What then is keeping Steamboat from stepping up to the plate and finding some sort of solution?
The Children and the families of Steamboat deserve better.
Looks to me that facilities group got themselves tangled in similar expectations of high enrollment growth expected to occur past the timeframe of the recent demographics report and other assumptions such as continued major growth in OOD enrollment (35% increase over 5 years), greatly increased space for preK without any answers on how expanded preK would be funded and so on.
The "better plan" are more modest solutions that recognize that 35-50% growth over 20 years is going to change SB in unpredictable ways. So the better plan is not to try to have a permanent solution, but what is definitely a 5 year solution and could be a 10 year solution and see what happens.
Much like the last time we went through this process most people who went to the community meetings, including myself, gravitated towards the long term solution. The voters in this poll seem to be saying the same thing. I remember saying "I don't want a bandage solution". I believed then that the community didn't want a new bond issue every 5 years when we could propose a 20 year plan. A lot of us felt that the moment Soda Creek was built we were already overcrowded. So, here we go again.
I think it should be explained that no one knows what the long term situation will be.
It is like driving a car on a road during a blinding blizzard. The smart strategy is to drive to the next road delineator and then to the next one. You could hit the gas and assume the road is straight for a few miles, but soon enough you will be wrong and in the ditch.
A solution expected to work for 5 years plus a few is actually the right way to do it. If you look at recent history, then rarely do we go 10 years without substantial changes. Even planning for 10 years should be done with the expectation that big things will have happened.
The local births had already occurred that proper demographics analysis should have known and predicted that SCE was going to be too small when it was remodeled. That should be a lesson to do it right the first time.
I wish there were a sixth choice: "None of the above".
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