Monday, November 2, 2015

Guest Viewpoint: "Solving Problems on Paper, Not In the Real World"


    The Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative is currently underway to assess all of the facilities in the DeKalb County School District. The assessments, which have been completed, will be used to determine the project list for eSPLOST V. The contractors conducting the assessments are the same ones who assessed DeKalb’s facilities before eSPLOST IV.
    Part of these assessments is a recalculation of the capacity of each school. At this point it needs to be said the capacity of a school can fluctuate with the programs offered and how the classrooms are used. For example, special education, SPED, classrooms have a lower capacity number than general education classrooms. This is called the Instructional Use Model.
The Capacity Determination Guide is posted on the district’s website. The current version of this guide lists the capacity of different classrooms at the same number as DeKalb County’s current Class Size Waiver.  This causes many concerns.
The current class sizes do not take into consideration the square footage of classrooms. I do not believe it a good idea to have 39 high school students in a classroom designed for 30. When 34 desks are placed in a fourth grade classroom, there is no room to walk between them without bumping into every chair passed.
Another concern is the fact these numbers exceed the limits listed in GaBOE  Rule #160-5-1-.08. It appears DeKalb County Schools is assuming the current waiver will be the new normal going forward. What happens if the district is not allowed to pursue the flexibility option chosen and is forced to maintain the status quo with no waivers? If the district moves to a flexibility option which includes charter schools (either a system of charter schools or a system of charter clusters) and the local governance board of a charter does not want to use the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. capacity numbers for their school(s), will they be granted the autonomy to limit the number of students to less than the stated capacity?  
Using the proposed school capacities to plan eSPLOST V, will affect resource (read money) allocation. In the eight clusters analyzed below, the proposed class sizes will add approximately 15,047 “available seats.” On paper, this dramatically reduces the need for trailers in schools that are currently over capacity.
Using the proposed capacity numbers, the capacity of the cluster increases by 1,603. In fact, using the classroom capacities in the Capacity Determination Guide would eliminate the need for most of the trailers right now (capacity-7,357 vs. enrollment-7,627). The entire cluster would only need approximately 20 trailers.
Imagine moving most of the students currently in trailers into the school buildings. Is there currently unused space in the schools which have multiple trailers? Of course not. Increasing the capacity of classrooms on paper does not make sense.  
It is not the right to address overcapacity issues on paper and not in the real world. Stakeholders need to make their opposition to the proposed classroom capacity numbers heard. This can be done by using the feedback form on the district’s website, contacting your local school council, or emailing Superintendent Green and the Board of Education.


In this table, the numbers is red represent schools which are being replaced or remodeled in eSPLOST IV. They are approximate values. 
 

Cross Keys Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Cross Keys
1,271
1,707
436
Sequoyah M.S.
1,266
1,640
374
Dresden E.S.
850
1,060
210
Montclair
792
896
104
Woodward E.S.
826
1,054
228
Cary Reynolds
749
1,000
251
Cluster Totals
5,754
7,357
1,603








Dunwoody Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Dunwoody H.S.
1,403
1,882
479
Peachtree Charter M.S.
1,212
1,658
446
Hightower E.S.
635
794
159
Chestnut E.S.
570
739
169
Vanderlyn E.S.
576
773
197
Dunwoody E.S.
973
1,253
280
Kingsley E.S.
500
677
177
Austin E.S.
616
900
284
Cluster Totals
6,485
8,676
2,191












Chamblee Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Chamblee Charter H.S.
1,695
2,346
651
Chamblee M.S.
1,077
1,550
473
Ashford Park E.S.
563
671
108
Huntley Hills E.S.
532
614
82
Montgomery E.S.
699
891
192
Cluster Totals
4,566
6,072
1,506












Tucker Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Tucker H.S.
1,644
2,294
650
Tucker M.S.
1,254
1,706
452
Smoke Rise E.S.
565
655
90
Livsey E.S.
379
435
56
Idlewood E.S.
882
1,128
246
Brockett E.S.
539
695
156
Midvale E.S.
511
671
160
Cluster Totals
5,774
7,584
1,810








Lakeside Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Lakeside H.S.
1,700
2,360
660
Henderson M.S.
1,170
2225
1055
Henderson Mill E.S.
551
712
161
Sagamore Hills E.S.
440
570
130
Pleasantdale E.S.
667
900
233
Evansdale E.S.
643
821
178
Oak Grove E.S.
643
805
162
Hawthorne E.S.
492
599
107
Briarlake E.S.
465
603
138
Cluster Totals
6,771
8,540
2,824








Druid Hills Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Druid Hills H.S.
1,206
1,650
444
Druid Hills M.S.
1,206
1,636
430
Fernbank E.S.
850
900
50
Briar Vista E.S.
512
719
207
Laurel Ridge E.S.
491
632
141
McLendon E.S.
562
748
186
Avondale E.S.
757
1,057
300
Cluster Totals
5,584
7,342
1,758








Clarkston Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Clarkston H.S.
1,206
1,598
392
Freedom M.S.
1,380
1,881
501
Allgood E.S.
690
939
249
Dunaire E.S.
761
977
216
Indian Creek E.S.
959
1,215
256
Jolly E.S.
805
1,031
226
Cluster Totals
5,801
7,641
1,840








Stone Mountain Cluster
Current Capacity
Future Capacity
Difference
Stone Mountain H.S.
1,086
1,479
393
Stone Mountain M.S.
1,428
1,992
564
Hambrick E.S.
742
971
229
Stone Mill E.S.
736
936
200
Stone Mountain E.S.
619
653
34
Rockbridge E.S.
576
671
95
Cluster Totals
5,187
6,702
1,515

3 comments:

  1. Let me see if I have this right.
    According to this presentation http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/cross-keys-cluster-over-capacity/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2015/09/CrossKeys_SequSep17_PubMtg_Final.pdf there are currently 1800+ students in "portable classrooms." If the proposed school capacities were in place right now, there would only be 200 students in "portable classrooms" and the rest would be in the schools themselves.
    This doesn't make any sense to me.

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  2. I agree it makes little to no sense to use current class size waivers to compute classroom capacity. As you stated, there are too many moving variables for these capacity numbers to really be useful - other than creating a needed outcome. Why not use the GADOE class size limits for any/all capacity configurations? Then the school system has a solid/legal footing for their capacity calculations.

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  3. Dunwoody Mom,
    Please allow me to post the email I just sent.
    ___

    I know who wrote the post and gave feedback before it was posted. The author wants to remain anonymous. The person who wrote this saw an email I sent which questioned the Capacity Determination Guide, and created the table. That person is afraid about how the increased capacities might affect the Cross Keys cluster solution. I asked the author to add more clusters because I believe the solution to Cross Keys shouldn't be contained north of I-85.

    The motivation of the author is not to derail any of Dr. Green's plans. The post has nothing to do with him. This post was about the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Capacity Determination Guide.

    The motivation is to prevent the proposed classroom sizes in the capacity utilization guide from being adopted and used. The proposed school capacities in the SPACES guide are ridiculous. Dr. Preston is wrong to propose using those class sizes to determine school capacity. School capacity is one of the constraints Dr. Green needs to factor into decisions that need to be made. The goal of the author was to allow stakeholders to be aware of the proposed capacities and allow Dr. Green to know how they feel about them. The motivation is to prevent garbage in - garbage out, not to hamstring or criticize Dr. Green.

    How many parents would have visited the SPACES page and read the Capacity Determination Guide before the meetings in January if this wasn't brought to their attention? How many people would have calculated the capacity of their local school under the proposed capacities? Maybe the Determination Guide and proposed capacities can be shared with school councils before January to see get their feedback?

    I don't know what the right thing to do is. I am in favor of open communication and the more the district can lead and control that communication, the better. However, posting technical details on the website and expecting stakeholders to read them is not effective communication. The initial feedback meetings, which just ended, will provide little substantive feedback, none of which has been posted online. In the absence of effective communication, why shouldn't people begin discussions on their own?

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