Seattle Hall Pass Podcast

E1 - Well-Resourced Schools

August 30, 2023 Christie Robertson & Jane Tunks Demel Season 1 Episode 1
Seattle Hall Pass Podcast
E1 - Well-Resourced Schools
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Show Notes Transcript

In our first episode of Seattle Hall Pass, we will be reporting on the in-person community meetings about Well-Resourced schools that Seattle Public Schools hosted in August. Christie and Jane share the community’s feedback and also discuss possible school closures, special education funding, and the school district’s budget. 

For sources on the facts cited in the podcast, see our data sheet here

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Episode 1 Main Body

Jane Tunks Demel: so what are well-resourced schools?
Christie Robertson: anyway?
Jane Tunks Demel: The superintendent says he doesn't have a plan yet, so that's why he is going to the community.
Dr Brent Jones: So when we talk about well-resourced schools, we're really talking about how much service are we providing students, and what type, what type of programs do we have for students? How are we using our building spaces wisely? As you heard Dr. Torres talk about, we have a strategic plan coming up. We have a levy that we're preparing for. We have budget challenge that we need to manage through and just a daily decision making that we have. So us understanding from community what a system of well-resourced schools are, is really important on many fronts.
Jane Tunks Demel: There were five meetings in August throughout Seattle and Christie and I went to the one at
Christie Robertson: (ST) Nathan Hale. And I also attended the one at Garfield, the first one.
Jane Tunks Demel: We saw most of the school board directors in attendance and the way the meetings worked is that they had community members at tables in groups of six to 10. And usually they had somebody from the district who was facilitating the conversation.
Christie Robertson: The two that I went to were really well attended. The school board directors and the admin walked around between the tables while people were talking. And the vast majority of the time was spent in conversation.
Jane Tunks Demel: They focused the conversation on three categories. And during the conversation, every community member had Post-its where they could write their thoughts. Everybody went around and shared the thoughts with their table. And at the end of that section, they would put all the post-its up on a board to consolidate.
Christie Robertson: We also looked at the post-it notes from all of the different meetings. So we are trying to convey somewhat of a sense of what happened around the different regions as well as what we heard at Hail and Garfield.
Jane Tunks Demel: So we can talk about the three categories they focus on. The first one was school buildings and learning spaces. The second one was academic and extracurricular programs, and the last one was support services and resources.
Christie Robertson: here's associate superintendent Rocky Torres introducing the first topic.
Dr Rocky Torres: Our first topic is school buildings and learning spaces. Framing question. What are your favorite things about our school buildings?
Jane Tunks Demel: It was interesting that they focused on school buildings and learning spaces a lot because we're building so many new school buildings. My students went to Sacajawea and I still have one student there, and that is one of the buildings that needs the most reconstruction for example, we had a roof last year and buckets in the hallway. But we love our school.
But it was really interesting for me hearing other people at my table who talked about their beautiful buildings. There was someone who was at Olympic Hills which is not too far from Sacajawea, and they have beautiful outdoor light. And the classrooms are clustered into pods and so it was really. Interesting to hear what can be when these new buildings come online?
Christie Robertson: My younger kiddo just finished up six years at Thornton Creek and when we moved in it was a pretty brand new building. And one of the things that I think made the biggest difference from what I saw my other kid go through was spaces between the classrooms just like a couple tables and some books and things. So if kids were being pulled out of their classroom to get special education or other support, or if they were working in small groups, they could go to that area. They still felt like they were part of the classroom, but having some space outside the classroom. And other people that had that at their buildings brought that up as well.
Jane Tunks Demel: And what are some of the other things you noticed that people brought up?
Christie Robertson: People cared about the outside appearance of the building that it felt good to go into. And just the feel of the school inside. So how is it structured to be welcoming and show the school's spirit.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah, I had a lot of people at mine comment about that too, just feeling like when you walk in the door that you're being welcomed. Everybody gave props to the office staff at all the school sites. Most of them are very welcoming when people come in , and that really makes a difference. Really Does.
I saw that some people were asking to have all cafeteria food made on site.
People really enjoy having student art on the walls. Mm-hmm.
One person noted that old buildings have auditoriums, but the new buildings do not. And related to that though people were also talking about good sound systems in the auditoriums. I know for example, Jane Adams used to be a well-regarded community theater, during the student plays, even when they're wearing mics, you cannot understand what they're saying. So I don't know if in the new buildings they're building auditoriums or not, but there was a few comments
Christie Robertson: about that. Accessibility concerns were brought up at both of the meetings I went to and I saw post-its about that to just build spaces that are designed for people with different needs rather than trying to retrofit. First we build the building and then we figure out how people in wheelchairs are gonna get out . With new buildings, we can look to taking everybody's needs into account. Make sure the sound systems are accessible to everybody and go along with lights and things like that. Definitely what you'd expect from a well-resourced school.
Jane Tunks Demel: One more thing that people really liked for these well-resourced school buildings is grass and other natural open spaces for the playground instead of some of the older playgrounds are all asphalt.
Christie Robertson: And I saw a couple comments that I cheered along to saying some kind of playground equipment or some kind of recess for middle school kids. Oh, yes, I saw that too. I know my middle schooler just can't believe they're not gonna have recess.
Jane Tunks Demel: For my middle schooler, they actually do call lunch recess . When they're done eating, some of them go outside onto the field, but it's not staffed, so for a real resource school, if you could have some adults out there just to keep everything positive.
Christie Robertson: One more thing was people brought up inclusion in this area. not having segregated spaces for kids that learn differently. I've seen some building plans that talk about these are the special education rooms. You do wanna make sure that you're thinking of services or services and not places to stick kids.
Dr Rocky Torres: Some of what we heard, the idea of green space and or gardens at our schools, the idea of mixed use spaces, the idea of safety, safety is very important. Mix of old and new school buildings. And finally, student work on display that represents the students of the school.
Jane Tunks Demel: The next part was academic and extracurricular programs.
Dr Rocky Torres: Framing question, what kinds of programs do you and or your student value the most and why?
Jane Tunks Demel: And as far as I know the extracurricular programs are all funded by PTAs. Yeah. Is that right?
Christie Robertson: I'm pretty sure that most of them are or they're self-funded by parents. So like either enrichment or childcare after school are paid for by parents or county programs that kind of thing. So it's interesting to think about that they are a part of what people think of as a well-resourced school. And obviously that's a bit conflicting with trying to cut costs.
I did see a lot about that discrepancy in P T A funding and what can be done about that. That's been an ongoing difficulty . These things that people consider to be a key part of well-resourced schools like field trips and enrichment that are only available if your P t A can pay for them. We have a few community groups that are working on some fund sharing, but the vast majority still just goes to the school where people donate money.
I think a lot of people don't realize the PTAs are funding them because they just consider them to be a part of a well-resourced school. They don't even realize that there are schools where kids don't go on field trips.
Jane Tunks Demel: And also in the overall scheme of things that p t a funds is a drop in the bucket of $1 billion plus budget. So that, that doesn't seem like the answer either.
Christie Robertson: Also, you can't bring every kind of kid to enrichment that's run by P T A because there isn't support for all kids' needs. People felt field trips and overnights was an important part of well-resourced schools. And I've known a lot of people who have had their kids left out, or that they were told that they had to go along if their kid was gonna go. And that's definitely not either legal or how it's supposed to be.
Jane Tunks Demel: And Christie, were those kids that were receiving special education services? Yeah. Yes.
Christie Robertson: Often I think it's that it's hard to figure out the special education teachers availability. And a lot of principals just choose to not deal with it unless somebody insists.
Jane Tunks Demel: So I'm really glad that the district was asking about extracurricular programs, and I'm hoping maybe we as community members can show them how we think these things are necessary in all schools , and hopefully it can get funded.
Dr Rocky Torres: Reminder, our topic was support, services and resources. Here are some of the themes. Staff for social emotional learning support at schools, more dedicated counselors at the secondary level, and clear private public partnerships between our schools, our community-based organizations, and the city of Seattle.
Our final conversation and topic of the evening. We're going to talk about academic and extracurricular programs. Framing question, what kinds of programs do you and or your student value the most and why?
Jane Tunks Demel: So, academic and extracurricular programs. What themes did we notice? Right,
Christie Robertson: People brought up wanting ethnic studies integrated into classes, a full-time librarian, counselor, and art teachers and music teachers.
Jane Tunks Demel: A few people highlighted there should be no cut sports for all grades, including elementary school. That is so true. Because a lot of times is that there's only one team, and so only the most skilled players are able to make the team. So some kids just don't even feel like they should try out because there's
Christie Robertson: no point. Right. Which is really inequitable because who's on the team? It's the ones that did little kickers .
Jane Tunks Demel: Or it's the people who are in the private sports teams that cost $1,500 a year, and then they also plan the school team, and so then they're not leaving any spaces for other people.
Christie Robertson: Advanced learning came up a lot. Not that there necessarily needs to be an extra program, but that kids need access to advanced learning in some way.
Right. '
Jane Tunks Demel: cause right now at least for elementary schools, is that advanced learning is supposed to be served at the neighborhood school, but because there's no curriculum, and the teachers aren't necessarily trained to serve all the many levels of needs in the same classroom those kids often don't get the instruction that they need.
Christie Robertson: And I personally do think that it's possible to teach a lot of different levels in the same class, but it's not a matter of just telling a teacher to differentiate. There's a lot of specific training around universal design for learning. But it takes co-planning and it takes co-teaching. Personally, I think a well-resourced school would have co-teachers and at least half the classrooms.
Jane Tunks Demel: But then the thing with that is that then it needs more staffing. And our district has a structural deficit
Christie Robertson: So that's why I really, really wanna see the breakdown of special education funding because the spending on special education is going up so much every year. And yet there is so much failure to serve disabled kids that I have to think that it's going to things that aren't effective. If you take money and pour it into dealing with kids who are having a lot of trouble, but you're not actually helping them have less trouble, and then that means you make your general education classes larger, then those kids have an even harder time being in those classrooms because there's more kids and less teacher.
And I'll add that one of the things on the agenda for the upcoming board meeting is approval of 10 and a half million dollars going to non-public agency schools, which are private schools that serve kids with needs that the district doesn't feel that they can provide for which often times I think is just dysregulated kids. So it's about, I think there's about a hundred kids and I believe a lot of them could be served in our schools if we were doing special education in a more inclusive way.
So I just have a really strong sense that that money is not being used effectively.
Jane Tunks Demel: What's happened for those of you who don't know, is that the special education budget is about a quarter of the budget. And, even the school board directors until recently weren't told how the money was being spent. There was three school board directors that told the superintendent that they would not vote to pass the budget unless they got the details on the special education spending .
And so then apparently they did give them that information and meetings that they called two by twos where it, the school board directors and two central office staff. But because it wasn't at a public meeting, Christie and I and all the rest of you community members, we don't know how that spending works.
SPS spends about twice what they're given from the state for special ed services. So not to say that the state is adequately funding special education services, but it's just when there's a big overspend from Seattle Public Schools, the legislature just doesn't understand what's going on there.
Yeah and one of the main reasons Christie and I wanted to do this podcast is because we do wanna just like information so that we can as citizens, as voters go to the state legislature and show them how SPS is spending its money and advocate for more funding.
Christie Robertson: And back to advanced learning for a minute. I do want to bring up the specific issue of walk to math where kids go to a different classroom at a different level during their math period to get the right level for them. Oh yeah. because a lot of people talked about that math is the hardest thing to really differentiate. Walk to math seems like one of the least exclusionary ways of providing advanced learning. A couple of people at my table talked about their kids having to repeat the same math curriculum two years in a row after walk to math was eliminated.
Jane Tunks Demel: And with the possible ending of the highly capable cohort that all those students will be back in their neighborhood schools. And so, walk to math seems a perfect example of how, you could have universal design for learning within a school site. That if some students were accelerated in math, they could just go to a different classroom for that time period. Mm-hmm.
Christie Robertson: One important thing I wanna add before we leave academic programs is I heard a lot about the skill center. When I was running for school board and I would get asked, what's something that you think is really going well at Seattle schools? That's the thing that sticks out to me. Our skill centers are so cool. They have all of these career areas that you can take classes and they will bus you to schools around the city starting in high school and they're really inclusive from what I've seen my kids have are just now getting to the age where they get take advantage. So we've never actually experienced the classes, but everything I've heard about them is really great, and I believe they are continually expanding and there was a lot of support for that among families.
Jane Tunks Demel: Some other things that were very popular is, I think almost universally everyone wanted to have a full-time librarian at every elementary school.
Mm-hmm. And also to bring back jumpstart for kindergartens. Oh
Christie Robertson: yeah, I heard
Jane Tunks Demel: that too.
Christie Robertson: And I also heard that everybody wants a counselor at their school, and specifically a counselor that actually does emotional style counseling, not just career
Jane Tunks Demel: advice. Mm-hmm. Oh, and one more thing that a lot of people mentioned was to have smaller class sizes.
Christie Robertson: Again, this brings up the issue of what is the point of these meetings because it's a little funny to go into a room and have them frame it as we have a budget crisis, and then we are all just basically giving our wishlist of what we think schools should have to be well-resourced and what they're actually going to be doing is making cuts.
Now, I assume they're gonna say, look, you guys all wanted a full-time librarian and a full-time counselor. And in order to do that, we have to close these schools and consolidate them over here, and that they'll just ignore the parts that are more complicated because they can't possibly do all of these things.
Here's superintendent Dr. Brent Jones.
Dr Brent Jones: As I mentioned in the last couple of sessions, we can do anything, but we can't do everything. And so we wanna make sure that we are prioritizing what's important to you.
Jane Tunks Demel: And every meeting took pains to say that no schools would be closing during the 23 to 24 school year.
Dr Rocky Torres: There will be no site consolidations and or closures for the 2324 school year.
Jane Tunks Demel: There is a state law that they have some minimum time required that you, that you can't close schools then. And the other interesting thing about this meetings is that we all know that schools are gonna be closing or consolidating as the district likes to say. But they didn't wanna talk about their during those meetings at all.
And we also know that they're building lots of very large. New brand new buildings for elementary schools that are gonna hold 500 students or 650 students. And some of those buildings are even opening. For example, this fall, Viewlands is reopening and I think it's a 650 student limit.
And also James Baldwin Elementary, which was formerly known as Northgate. Both of those schools will be opening this fall. They have like 250 or 300 students and they're in these buildings that can hold twice as many.
So part of the district planning all along must have been, that they're gonna build these new buildings and since they're twice the size of their old buildings, they'll have to redraw boundaries and perhaps close schools to get those buildings full.
Christie Robertson: That does make me think, are they gonna close the H C C schools or something?
Jane Tunks Demel: Well, yeah. And then Cascadia could be another neighborhood elementary school for 600 students. I think there's many community members who would love to have their students in a beautiful new building with all these things, natural light, and
Christie Robertson: that building is amazing.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. But instead of just saying, we're building these new beautiful schools for our students, but then it means that maybe we'll close some of our older buildings. They just don't wanna talk about it.
So it'll be interesting when the superintendent tells us what his plan is, which they said at all of the meetings that he will be releasing his plan in November. Yes.
Christie Robertson: And they said a survey will go out in September. And we are super curious to see what that survey is like.
Dr Rocky Torres: In September of 2023, an electronic survey will be released district-wide to families, high school students, staff, and community partners to gather additional input. While more than 700 individuals have signed up to attend our in-person sessions this summer, we want to follow up with our entire school community. The input gathered will be compiled into report used to inform decisions on upcoming major SPS initiatives.
Jane Tunks Demel: Christie and I were wondering how SPS is gonna be collating all the data collected. We have a friend who took pictures of all the Post-its and shared it with us. So it'll be interesting to see how the school district interprets that data and if any of it has an impact on when they announced their plan for well-resourced schools. Mm-hmm.
Christie Robertson: Or if they're just gonna kind of go on a gestalt from how the meetings felt or what they heard when they were walking around.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. Or if they're just gonna go with what they think is best.
Christie Robertson: Right. What they were gonna do all along. Yeah. I'd be really curious to hear if they heard what they were expecting to, or if they were surprised by anything.
Dr Rocky Torres: As a reminder, we were on academic and extracurricular programs. Some of the themes we heard are clubs, walk on sports, student choice in what the programming is. Sports in the elementary schools, music arts, and theater, and more volunteer opportunities.
Christie Robertson: The third area was support, services and resources
Dr Rocky Torres: Topic, support, services, and resources? Framing question, how could we make resources and or services at each school stronger?
Jane Tunks Demel: One of the things people mentioned that's near and dear to my heart is staffing to avoid split grade classrooms. Since my student is at a smaller school. I actually think there are advantages to having split grade classrooms, but from what I've heard from the teachers at my student's schools is that the district doesn't have a curriculum to support that.
Christie Robertson: Yeah, I heard that too.
I definitely heard language access so the parents who speak limited English can participate fully in their kids'
Jane Tunks Demel: school.
A great example of language access was recently Manuela Slye came to the school board meeting because at Seattle World School they were having a graduation and most of those students families don't speak English as a first language. So she was advocating that they translate the graduation ceremony for Spanish. So it is things like that so that the families can feel part of the community events at that school.
Christie Robertson: Yeah. The kind of thing that you're like, they weren't already doing that. Wow.
And free meals for every kid. I heard that a lot.
Jane Tunks Demel: And that is something that the state legislature can help pay for that. And I think they're gonna try to do that again in the next
Christie Robertson: session. Yeah. There was a bill for that in this last one, but it got kind of gutted. I am sure they'll try again.
And before and afterschool care, I heard that mentioned a lot too and saw that on the post-its
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah, because right now, especially in elementary schools, they don't have enough staff to have afterschool care for every child that needs it. And so that definitely becomes an equity issue. For any family that has two full-time working caretakers, we need to have afterschool care care for our children. Right.
Christie Robertson: Or one full-time.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yes.
Dr Rocky Torres: Reminder, our topic was support, services and resources. Here are some of the themes. Staff for social emotional learning support at schools, more dedicated counselors at the secondary level, and clear private public partnerships between our schools, our community-based organizations, and the city of Seattle.
Jane Tunks Demel: One thing I thought was interesting when they were passing the 2324 budget for the school year that's just about to start the projections were that around $50 million would be the deficit for the 24 to 25 school year. But then I noticed that all of these well-resourced school meetings that superintendent Jones said that it would actually be 105 million dollars deficit for the 24 25 school year.
Dr Brent Jones: we are at a financial crossroads. This last year 23 24 planning, we had $131 million budget deficit. This coming year that we have to prepare for is a $105 million deficit.
Jane Tunks Demel: And so I'm wondering why is there the 50 million difference. 'cause they balanced the budget for the year that's just about to start. And one of the ways they did balance that is that they spent the entire rainy day fund. So now there's $0 in the rainy day fund.
Christie Robertson: I couldn't believe they did that. I was like, zero. Really? You don't wanna leave just like a car wreck amount of money in there .
Jane Tunks Demel: And it makes you really wonder, you know, what's the plan? Because when they decided to use the rainy day fund, they could already see that the next year was gonna be like 53 million, 54 million. They were gonna need it for the following school year. And then now Superintendent Jones is saying 105 million. And as we know, there's a capital budget, the general education budget, there's so many different budgets. So I'm sure there's a explanation for it, but I just don't know what it is.
Christie Robertson: Well they cut the central staff drastically.
Jane Tunks Demel: Oh, yeah. Seattle Public Schools we're not the only one in this position. School districts have to make central office cuts every year, it seems like, because the legislature is underfunding our schools. Some districts in Washington State would publish the list of positions that they cut.
And I actually sent that to the school board directors and asked could Seattle do that too? But I think they never did. They should have that information for everybody. Yeah. And, and one of the positions they cut does public records requests. And that would be, the person can help us get all this information.
Christie Robertson: I meant to ask you, you looked up the laws around what has to happen for a school to close? Do you wanna talk a little about that? Oh,
Jane Tunks Demel: Actually the Seattle Public Schools, have their own board policy for school closures. So we can talk about that. And Christie and I have been wondering when are they gonna announce these school closures? The last school board meeting for the present board is November 15th. And we're wondering, are they going to vote on it with this present school board or is it gonna be something that happens after the new school board is seated, which is in November 29th.
Christie Robertson: So they said that Dr. Jones would introduce his plan in November. And I assume this is not gonna be one where they do introduction and action in the same meeting. So I would guess they wouldn't vote on it until December.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. And so then part of the board policy for school closures says that there has to be public review of the superintendent's preliminary recommendation for school closures, and that there has to be a minimum of 30 days for that to happen.
Then there would be public hearings for each proposed school site that may be closed. And that when possible, the public hearing would be held at the affected school. And also that there would be a public review of the superintendent's final recommendation for school closures, and that would be a minimum of 14 days. And then the school board has to wait at least seven days after the public hearing to vote. And between seven and 90 days, they have to vote on that.
Christie Robertson: So that's really interesting. And I assume that that means they're planning on doing those hearings in later winter.
Jane Tunks Demel: And then what happens if the new school board directors come in and some of them may not approve of the school closures.
So it's really interesting to see what happens. My assumption was that they were gonna try to get it done with the current board because they know that the current board majority would probably vote to support the closures.
Christie Robertson: There's no way they could pass it through in that amount of time. Yeah.
I really want, I really hope they make it clear what they base their choices on I did a spreadsheet of the numbers of different vulnerable populations at the schools versus the attendance at those schools. And as I suspected, a lot of the smaller schools have one or another population that they are serving or many that part of the reason that those kids are there is maybe because the school is smaller and that they have more access to a more intimate environment and lower ratios, that kind of thing.
So I hope that they are going to have some way to take that into account. And it's not just the equity measures either. which is of course really important to make sure that this doesn't overly affect students for this from educational justice. Jane is gonna post a link to an article that talks about how those kids are often the most affected but also kids that have particular needs, such as kids who have different gender identities that need to be at a more welcoming school or have had difficulty or bullying, or even kids who have different sensory needs or just difficulty with disciplinary systems. And oftentimes those kids just really need a smaller, more intimate environment. And I've heard Liza Rankin talk about this a lot, that there are some schools that are small on purpose and some that are small by accident. There certainly are schools that are small that aren't serving any of those vulnerable populations, and I hope that they would go to those before the others.
But there's other things that might be harder to quantify, like, what is the role that school is serving in that community environment or what are closures gonna do in terms of transportation and walkability? And so all of those things are gonna be really hard to take into account, but very important to take into account. So I really hope they are.
My fear is that they're looking at a spreadsheet that has to do with librarians and counselors and art teachers and not this other stuff.
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. And some of the small schools are actually not under-enrolled. A lot of times people just point to the schools with fewer than 200 students or fewer than 300 students and say they're under-enrolled. But for example, Sacajawea is my neighborhood school and there's 200 students there, but the capacity is 220 students. So it's really not mm-hmm under-enrolled. It's, it's a small neighborhood school and that's how it is. But because the way the state funding is with the prototypical school model they want to just build these bigger schools.
Christie Robertson: Right. And then I wonder what they do with the smaller ones.
Jane Tunks Demel: So the building condition , that's something that we should be learn more about because so many of the buildings have just been ignored for decades that they have to tear them down basically and build new ones.
And they do have some in the school board policy for school closures. It does say that the superintendent will have to share what the criteria for school closures are. Okay. They also have to consider demographic and integration effects.
Mm-hmm. So I'm sure they will try, try to protect the schools that are in say the south end of the city or where there's a higher population of students for this from educational justice. Yeah.
Christie Robertson: Yeah. Seattle, since that's one of their primary goals, hopefully they'll do better about that than other districts.
But another thing we should point out that I hope that they address is that closing schools oftentimes doesn't have the budgetary impact that's expected. That there are costs that are really hard to take into account. And also when school closures happened before they ended up having to reopen them a few years later. So that's expensive to close and reopen schools and move kids and remove them. So presumably there's somebody thinking
Jane Tunks Demel: about this stuff. Yeah. And I think that's something that we hope everybody listening can ask the district to share with us exactly how much money they think they'll be saved by closing schools. Mm-hmm. They have on their three year budget says $28 million will be saved by closing schools. But then chief operating officer, Fred Podesta, said on the K U O W interview that 28 million was actually a speculative number that they actually don't know how much money will be saved.
Mm-hmm. But that would be a number that they would like to save. And when he was pressed by the reporter about what would be the savings he wasn't able to really say anything tangible, in my opinion. He mentioned that there would be less deliveries, like a food delivery would have to go to one less school site.
Christie Robertson: I'm kind of glad he was honest about not being sure about those numbers, but it also makes me wonder how they're gonna deal with the other three quarters of the deficit. I've heard board directors and administrators deny that the closures are tied to budget at all, which seems really disingenuous to me. Well,
Jane Tunks Demel: I think that might be partly because they're building these big new buildings and they're gonna be half empty, for example, this school year.
You know, Viewlands and James Baldwin. So, so in that way maybe it isn't related to budget cuts. Maybe they're just thinking that might make people agree with the decision to close schools more, or they might get more community buy-in if they position it that way. I,
Christie Robertson: I mean, they've brought up the deficit at every one of the meetings.
Have you ever heard any other Proposal for how they're gonna save money. I haven't heard anything
Jane Tunks Demel: but this. No. And also they say it would save about $1 million per year per school site to close a school. But I don't know what that number's based on. And what I hope to do when they're presenting these plans to close schools is show us how this money's being saved. Because they still need the same amount of teachers. Maybe they only need one principal instead of two principals, you know, if two small schools merge.
But but besides for that, you know, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of staffing that would be saved
Christie Robertson: Right. And I, I assume that number takes into account the cost of the closing and whatever they need to, to keep the building from falling into the ground and all the, all the money it's gonna take to like, reroute all those kids and do the community engagement
Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. I don't know if they have that information, but let's ask them. Absolutely.