October 30, 2023

School Facility Efficiency Review Committee


Meeting 7 Minutes: 10/30/23

Committee Convened: 5:30 PM.

Announcement prior to the meeting: Request that everyone sign in.


Welcome from Shannon Bingham (SB) from Western Demographics, Inc. (WDI). Mr. Bingham acknowledged the Squaxin tribal ancestry of the district.


SB explained randomization process for group work. Explained agenda would include presentation of a lot of data. At the end of the meeting, the committee will take a survey. Score sheets associated with the survey were provided for committee members to take notes during the meeting.


SB noted that the scoring tonight is not the final scoring. Wednesday night we will have further discussion, scoring and ranking. The final survey (Wednesday night) will be used has a framework for a motion for what goes to the Board. For committee members who wish to state a position on various issues and scenarios, they on record you may offer a letter tonight, Wednesday night or via email. The invitation for the position letters is open through Thursday noon. That timeline allows for giving the Board adequate time to review what is submitted. Letters provided to SB will be anonymous/confidential and do not reveal individual member’s identity. The letters were scanned and processed by 3pm Thursday.

SB reviewed the survey results from the prior meeting’s survey/poll. Kate, the district CFO, spent a tremendous amount of time preparing analytics on possible financial savings for each scenario under review. S. B reviewed the analytics. Scenario 11 has estimated savings for boundary optimization, but the changes would affect 35-40% of district. For that scenario, the most saved would be $496K.


Break 7:14-7:30


When returned from break worked in small groups to identify pros/cons.


Group Report outs on the Pro/Cons:


Pro/Cons for first archetype (grade configuration)


Group 1:

  • Pro - Potential for keeping the most elementary schools operating;

  • Con - Some areas would have middle school in a P8 while others would be in a traditional middle school.


Group 2:

  • Pro - (for p8) Sense of community and sense of belonging;

  • Con - (for 5-8) Would have to close 4 elementary schools and create a broken feeder at Pioneer.

  • Pro - longer time in middle school to build community. Retaining 6th grade is developmentally appropriate.

  • Con - 7-8 Too short of time to build community.


Group 3:

  • Pro - Longevity in building community building.


Group 4:

  • Pro - Easier to sell to public;

  • Con - More of impact on middle school students as far as service and geography.


Group 5:

  • Pro - Fewer moves for children in P8;

  • Con - Fewer electives.


Group 6:

  • Pro - Longer time to build relationships; Con -- shorter time with middle school.


Changes that do not affect grade configuration

  1. Con - more schools close
  2. Pro - simpler to implement and affect fewer tot studs;

  3. Pro - Most straightforward; Con –transportation.

  4. Pro - Savings; Con more targeted impact on specific communities.

  5. Pro - Saves money; Con doesn’t keep students in their home area.

  6. Pro - Savings & opportunity to have higher support; Con -- closing schools.


Changes that effect choice/option program

  1. Pro - Does not take high poverty schools off line.

  2. Con - District would lose an unknown number of students to adjacent districts.

  3. Pro - More social equity

  4. Con - Less variety in instructional styles.

  5. Pro - Sense of fairness

  6. Con - Loss of FTE.

  7. Pro - Impacts members of residential community least

  8. Con - Reduces academic options.

  9. Pro - Makes neighborhood schools more efficient

  10. Con - Lose students

  11. We didn’t finish conversation. We got stuck with uncertainty of whether students would stay in boundaries.

The committee members interspersed questions and comments throughout the evening. Those are included below.



Questions/Comments from committee members with answer from SB/WDI and or administration members:


Why isn’t school student performance included in the analysis that we are reviewing?

Most school efficiency processes (75-80%) don’t use that. Others do. If you feel that should have been a consideration, you are welcome to share that in a letter. But, it has not been mentioned until now.


I didn’t come prepared with a letter. How long do we have to submit one?

It is my intention to post all of the letters. If I get something by Thursday morning, I will include it in the packet.


Will you provide the report back to us? Will we have access to the scores?



So, there are no committee members presenting to the board?

I don’t know. If you’d like to suggest that to the board, you’re welcome to do that. I’ll have 45 minutes to present what the committee has reviewed and produced in the 24 hours of meetings.


Board response: I’d be open to that, probably on the 9th. The board has a two-hour session and will need time to talk. The board has all the information you get, the board gets as well. We have access to the drive.


I am concerned about how many times Boston Harbor closure is mentioned. It creates long commutes. I’m concerned about the impacts of the commute. It will take a commute of an hour/day. From a health perspective, this is detrimental. I feared this committee was “rubber stamping.” It was good to see the data, but I still have that concern.


Is there anyone else producing data on this topic?

No. Other than in-house staff, SB/WDI or FLO, it is my understanding no one else is preparing or analyzing data.


Some estimated savings numbers are shown as negative numbers. Does that mean we lose that money?

No. The negative number shows dollars going back into the budget.


What is the level of detail included?

Everything we thought was appropriate to include as potential savings was included.


Wish we had this level of granularity earlier.
The business office in the district is short-staffed. The initial estimates did not have the confidence of this group, so the CFO’s office produced the detail that the committee requested.


Can you give a brief explanation of what is on the summary (2) tab?
The column headers were reviewed.

Kate indicated it was what we are currently funding per student at each school.


Would the cost of transportation change?

We would have to hire a transportation consultant or have the routers and schedulers spend a week running hypothetical scenarios. It would be better to have that done after we have narrowed the number of options under consideration.


It could change our perspective on some of the scenarios if there was significant cost for transportation.
It costs about $60K per route. The transportation department has viewed the scenarios and indicated preliminary costs would not be overwhelming. More analysis would be forthcoming.


It seems consistent that closing a single school yields about $1 million savings. So, the options change the amount based on the number of schools that close.
Correct, the savings vary based on how many schools would close.


Looking at bundles 5, 8 and 9, you used the average. You couldn’t quite estimate the ones for ORLA.
ORLA and Avanti are based on averages.


Think about students at ORLA. My child won’t be attending a district school, if ORLA is closed. If it is closed, you’ll lose a lot of people like me. They’ll go to home school, or private school or another district.
I assumed a loss of 30% for my calculations. (70% retained). That is just a guess.


Is the savings experienced just from State and Local funding sources?
Yes, The savings is the in-elastic funding. The elastic teacher and other staff funding follows the children. Overhead is the principal savings.


I do not understand the savings described in the original savings slides that refer to subsidy.
The original savings figures addressed in-elasti staff costs of school of various sizes as a subsidy from the mill levy. The round figure of saving $1 mil includes utilities, food service and other costs. SB reviewed “Subsidy Recovery Savings” tables for more explanation.


The problem with the numbers on ORLA is it is like three different schools there. We’d probably get at least 70% of Montessori staying in district.

From District staff member: Really have 4 programs. We have roughly 240 in the Connect program. We have about 100 Online students last year and have about 200 now. Most districts with the Profile of OSD, have at least 3-4 specialized programs like ORLA.


For Scenario 8, we envisioned that there would be consolidation to two schools from three. We assumed you would close Lincoln in this scenario.
SB asked committee for clarification of the scenario as they proposed it. [No questions or interjections followed.]


In Scenario 3 where you address K-5, 7-8 district-wide, it includes closing an elementary. So, savings would be more than $2 million.
That sounds correct.


On all the Jefferson closure scenarios, did you find a place for JAMS to go?
Yes - It would need to stay on the west side.


The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:10 p.m.