June 14th Board of Education Meeting, Redistricting Feasibility Study Presented.

posted Jun 15, 2012, 8:20 AM by General PTA Address   [ updated Jun 15, 2012, 2:27 PM ]
Hi all, I am going to write this post from my point of view.  I am Alan Romack, the Chair of the Communications Committee for the TSES PTA.  I will remind or inform you that this process will result in changes in student enrollment for the 2013-2014 school year, not next school year. I will also remind that this process is just a draft, and not the final plan, there will be probably 20-25 meetings at many levels, before November's vote to get changes made.  

First of all, I just wanted to say how happy I was to see as many TSES parents at the meeting as I did.  Big shout out to Daryl, Wayne, and Derek for coming, being interested in the process and most importantly showing the Board that TSES is watching and will be a part of the process.  If I didn't call you out it was because I either missed seeing you or did not know you were a TSES parent.  Stop by and introduce yourself so I can get to know you!!

The DRAFT Redistricting plan, also known as the feasibility study, was introduced by Joel Gallihue, and was accompanied by a power point presentation summarizing important items from the feasibility study.  Please see this presentation attached to this post.  The June 2012 Feasibility Study and Supplement are attached on the lead post above.  Joel discussed the plan, highlighting strengths and weakness of the plan, as well as stressing how the goals of this round of redistricting are causing a larger movement of students than last Fall's Redistricting moves.  The Opening of the New Elementary School #41, 600 seats, in the East part of the county are going to drive the movement of something like 1,200 students alone.  Total, we are looking at something like 2,900 students being moved.  I highly recommend checking out pages 2,3,4,11 and 12 in the power point attached in particular.  Page 29 of the feasibility study has a nice summary of movement of students county wide.  

Now, particular to TSES is the proposal to reduce our over crowding problem.  TSES is has a current capacity of 443 students without the relocatables.  The projected enrollment for TSES for the 2013 school year is 645 students with a utilization rate of 145%.  (page 48 feasibility study) As most of you know, the school has been meeting the classroom needs for this kind of enrollment by adding the additional classrooms outside the school's main building.  For this past school year, TSES fielded 6 relocatable classrooms and was busting at the seams.  Plans for next year include adding two additional, yes 8 total, relocatables.  Major internal relocations are going on this summer at the school to accommodate this additional seating.  2nd grade and 3rd grade pods are swapping places internally, to help facilitate one of the third grade classes being moved to a relocatable.  Yes, one third grade and all of 5th grade will be outside.  The situation is un-sustainable in my mind and redistricting is absolutely necessary.  A huge round of applause is due to the TSES Administration for dealing with this situation and finding creative solutions to the problems this causes until redistricting catches up with our situation

Please read pages 13-14 in the feasibility for the high. level summary of Columbia East needs (TSES is a part of Columbia East).  Specifically the plan calls for moving all of the students in planning polygon #96 from Talbott Springs to Steven's Forest.  This polygon currently generates 160 students to TSES.  The polygon is shown in the map on page 38 of the feasibility study.  This polygon is roughly described by route 29 on the west, and Stevens Forest and White Acre on the East.  Please see clipped portion of map below.
The reasons given for this polygon  moving is that it is within walking distance to Talbott Springs and Steven's Forest so it has low impact on transportation factors.  It is also contiguous to both schools and will not create an islanding condition.  Islanding happens when a planning polygon gets separated from a school feed zone and is surrounded by another schools zone.  An example of this is polygon 3059 on page 37 of the feasibility study.  Additionally, it has a large number of students (160) that will dramatically alter the capacity level at TSES.  In addition, Stevens Forest Elementary is currently just under 70% capacity and will have a 100 seat addition completed at the school by Aug of 2013.  Capacity is at Stevens Forest and can be used to relieve TSES.  With this polygon move the school is projected to be at 485 students or 109% capacity in 2013-2014 SY and maintains a utilization rate of no higher than 114% (projected) thru 2023-2024 SY.  (page 51 of the feasibility study)

Okay in terms of school balancing.  FARM percentages are expected to drop to 39% from 46%, MSA Reading is estimated to remain nearly level at 85% before and 86% after, Math MSA nearly level at 92% before ans 91% after and most importantly utilization dropping from 146% to 109% thru 2017.  See page 5 in  Supplement to Feasibilty Study.  The number of students leaving TSES for Oakland Mills Middle would drop from 44% to 33.8% in this June Proposal (page 17 Supplement)  

Okay that is the details as I know them.  I did want to highlight a couple of interesting talking points from the meeting. 

1.  Several BOE members were concerned with the process of redistricting, particularly the age of some of the data used in the analysis.  I would try and explain it here, but I just wouldn't be able to do it justice.  Please see page 3 of the powerpoint from the meeting to see the timeline and understand that year one is defined, for our redistricting process, as September 30th, 2011.  As you can see by the time the vote is taken on the final plan by the Board some of the data could be over a year old. The board is presented with the most up-to-date enrollment numbers for the current school year (taken Sept 30th each year) just before the vote and staff would typically inform them if the actual numbers varied significantly from the projection.  Why the lag, this is because it takes time to create the plan, Time to vet the plan with the Area Attendance Committee and time for public comment and discussion.   Equally important is once the plan is approved, the details need to be worked out for moving all those students (details include bus routes, staffing, informing all of the affected families, etc).  This parent thinks it is quite a job and that it is a minor miracle that it will get pulled off by August of 2013.  

2.  There was also a lot of discussion on how the projections are created.  How many students each type of housing unit produces.  Again I cannot summarize almost 45 minutes of discussion here, but I will give it a try.  The school system uses a rolling 5 year set of data for student generation for each housing type in each school planning area.  The then factor this information into a predictive model for each school for attendance projections.  While this projection planning number is an assumption, it is based in 5 years of actual data for each school planning area.  The county has found this to be pretty accurate over the years.  I would expect to see more on this as the summer progresses.

3.  Lastly there was a fair amount of discussion about the APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) chart and the interest the County Council is taking on this item.  This is a much bigger issue than I am prepared to write much about, frankly I would need to do more research to feel like I could explain it.  The APFO is basically a document that details the decisions about capital improvement needs for the county, and things like new schools and new additions to schools drive the ability to release new building permits in areas of the county.  If there is not enough school capacity to allow new construction, then no building permits can be issued.  Timely, and accurate data from the feasibility studies help drive the APFO chart and perhaps some things have gotten out of sync in the process.  I am afraid that is the best I can do with this one.  

To summarize this meeting:  the 2012 Feasibility plan was presented, the Board approved the formation of the Attendance Area committee, and the first meeting of that group will be June 19th, 7:00pm at the BOE building on 108.  

Let us know if you have questions.  Comment below or email us at PTA@tsespta.org

General PTA Address,
Jun 15, 2012, 8:20 AM