Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Long Range Planning
January 29, 2007
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street
Madison, Wisconsin

Long Range Planning Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Carol Carstensen at 6:53 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza, Arlene Silveira

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: None

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Mary Gulbrandsen, Pam Nash, Roger Price, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Arlene Silveira and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to approve the minutes of the Long Range Planning Committee meeting dated December 18, 2006; January 10 and January 18, 2007 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried.

2. Public Appearances

Sharon Redinger read an e-mail she sent to the Board today (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes). She asked the Board to approach the idea of closing Lapham Elementary with a long range perspective. She indicated that Lapham, Marquette, and O'Keeffe schools all came in over district projection this year and she thought they would continue to increase. She added that O'Keeffe's numbers would increase even more with the influx of Hawthorne kids starting in the fall. She also indicated that if Lapham is closed, more families would leave downtown Madison and it would work against the city's effort to rejuvenate the central city.

Ms. Carstensen clarified that administration was directed to bring a full range of options to the committee, including closing a school. The committee has not yet decided to do that but is considering it as one of the options.

Maya Cole talked about the importance of neighborhood schools and asked for clarification of the process that the Board uses for budgeting, especially when an option is put forth to close a school. She favored a partnership approach with the city and other Near East Side groups to find other ways to use the school as a multi-use facility. She suggested an expansion of the Early Childhood program. She felt the enrollment numbers would probably rise.

Ms. Carstensen noted that the Early Childhood program at Lapham is one of many in the district and that the broader public could not be served in that program. The issue is budget. Ms. Cole responded that there are many parents willing to do whatever they can to keep their school.

Becky Christy, representing Chavez Elementary staff and parents, indicated that Mary Gulbrandsen would be presenting their concerns. They have been working on some proposals to fix the overcrowding situation within their school. She proposed that they keep the children from High Ridge Trail so that their low-income percentage does not drop because they want the diversity and would not want Leopold Elementary's low-income percentage to go up so significantly. They were concerned about providing continuity for those families. While she realized that transportation was an issue, she stated that these students may be moved periodically over the next few years anyway and that the committee might consider that.

Patrick McDonnell, Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association, reiterated and reinforced the points made to the Board last year on the subject of Lapham School closure. They were in support of sustaining the Lapham-Marquette pair as it currently exists. Their neighborhood is transitioning from a student rental, transitory environment to one of owner-occupied and families with growing children. This transformation is being fostered by deliberate planning by the neighborhood and the city. It is the worse possible time for this to occur in their neighborhood and he asked the committee to reject this option.

Matt Calvert made a presentation to the Lapham-Marquette PTO two weeks ago regarding closing Lapham and raising class size. People started to think about a building with 950 students K-8 and larger class sizes and were fairly stunned. The investment made in small class sizes and neighborhood schools, while expensive, has resulted in many rewards including raising student achievement and has strong neighborhood support. Disinvesting may result in weaker neighborhoods and more kids falling through the cracks. Voters should be given the opportunity to decide if this is worth it. He asked the committee to consider going to referendum to fill the budget hole in the hopes that the state funding situation will become better. He hoped the conversation would "bubble up" more and more in the community.

Robert Godfrey, Lake View PTA, referred to a joint statement from the O'Keeffe PTG and the Lapham-Marquette PTG on the 2007-08 MMSD budget (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes). They opposed the idea of closing Lapham School. He hoped the committee would get from the administration a better understanding of the numbers in the 2010-11 school year in order to look at issues related to costs for English Language Learners, free and reduced lunch ratios, SAGE classrooms, transportation, etc. They wanted an answer soon since it was their impression that the Board would be making decisions in March.

Mary Gulbrandsen clarified that the allocations for the schools were needed in March or early April so that students would know where they are going and to give kids and families enough time to deal with moving to a new school. An absolute date has not been set for decision making by the Board.

Mr. Godfrey asked for answers to the questions in their document and for a more timely way to let people know about upcoming meetings. The committee is scheduled to meet again on February 19.

There were two written registrations: one opposed to the closing or consolidation of Lapham Elementary School and one notifying the committee that staff feedback from Lake View regarding overcrowding would be sent via e-mail to the Board later this week.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Overcrowded MMSD Elementary Schools

(Packets included three new ideas for the East Attendance Area (Ideas 7-9) and a recommendation regarding Chavez overcrowding (1/25/07). Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

DISCUSSION:

Brentwood vs. Maple Bluff movement; attempt to keep transportation costs neutral; moving Maple Bluff out of Lake View would substantially change low-income numbers there.

Proposal to move Brentwood to Gompers - affect on middle school; keep them assigned to their middle school at this time. There is space in all three middle schools. Some neighborhoods are divided. Linden Park school will also affect middle school assignments in the West/Memorial areas. Staff can attempt to limit the number of middle schools assigned for each elementary school. Brentwood will be asked for their preference and the analysis will start from there.

SHORT PRESENTATION OF IDEAS 1-6:

#1 - Brentwood to Mendota, Packers Townhouses to Gompers

#2 - Brentwood to Emerson from Lake View

#3 - Brentwood to Gompers from Lake View

#4 - Pair Gompers-Lake View, consolidate Marquette-Lapham, Packers Townhouses and area south from Mendota to Emerson, Maple Bluff and Brentwood from Lake View to Mendota

#5 - Pair Lake View-Emerson, consolidate Marquette-Lapham, Packers Townhouses and area south from Mendota to Lowell, Maple Bluff from Lake View to Mendota and Brentwood from Lake View to Gompers

#6 - Pair Gompers-Lake View, Brentwood and Maple Bluff to Mendota

IDEA #7: Move the Brentwood area to Emerson Elementary School and consolidate Lapham-Marquette into

a K-5 school at Marquette.

o Maptician program works only on where students live, not where they go to school. That is what can be moved around. Some statistics have to be done by hand. Class size analysis looks at just K 5 percentages of students that go to each school.

o Almost impossible to predict what happens when you move a group of kids from one school to another. Do not have cohort survival rates of neighborhoods but do have them for schools. There is no model for cohort survival rates of neighborhoods. That is a handicap.

o Brentwood has been increasing in numbers of students.

IDEA #8: Close Lindbergh and move students to Mendota and Gompers, move Brentwood and Maple Bluff area students to Emerson, move the students in Packers Townhouses to Lapham-Marquette, move the students in the area south of Packers Townhouses to Emerson, and move the students in the Whitetail Ridge areas to Lake View.

IDEA #9: Close Lindbergh and move students to Mendota and Gompers, move Brentwood and Maple Bluff area students to Emerson, move the students in Packers Townhouses to Lowell, move the students in the area south of Packers Townhouses to Emerson, consolidate Lapham-Marquette, and move the students in the Whitetail Ridge area to Lake View.

o For #8 and #9 - Gompers +/- 15% capacity. After the changes it would be15% over capacity. Would have to take some moves from Lapham.

Ms. Carstensen proposed two options of her own; one a variation on #8. They will be in the Board packet on Thursday. The first moves the entire area south of Northport Drive and east of North Sherman Avenue from Mendota to Lapham/Marquette, Brentwood from Lake View to Emerson, Maple Bluff from Lake View to Mendota, consolidates Lindbergh with Gompers, and Whitetail Ridge from Gompers to Lake View. She explained that the low-income range is much narrower. The last option was to close Sherman Middle School (distributing students to Black Hawk and O'Keeffe Middle Schools so that the schools are roughly similar in size and low-income percentages, Maple Bluff and Brentwood from Lake View to Emerson, and Whitetail Ridge from Gompers to Lake View. Everything else would remain the same. These options will go up on the web site on Friday, February 2.

DISCUSSION:

v Very difficult to move the Affiliated Alternative programs to Lindbergh because it is not readily accessible to city bus transportation. Could be possible if Sherman were closed. Can look again at the plan to have the Alternatives share with Shabazz.

v Other option have heard mentioned is making Lapham K-5 and putting Brentwood at the Marquette-O'Keeffe site.

v Wednesday is a meeting with Brentwood parents that will lay out these options and get feedback. There is another meeting scheduled on February 6 for everyone in the East Attendance Area. The meeting at Black Hawk was just the presentation. This will be more discussion and feedback about every plan.

v Administration is working on cost savings of closing or consolidating that could be used for other programs. If a school is taken out of commission, that would include no principal, secretaries, librarian, custodians, and all infrastructure costs. The $500,000 number was put out to represent that scenario. The analysis is being done for the scenario of taking facility costs away and having rental savings. The next step will be accounting for transportation issues, if any, for each of the plans.

v Administration works constantly with the city planners in terms of predicting what is going to be developed. This will include the plan to be submitted by the Tenney-Lapham Association in February. Much of the city development depends on the kind of infill that occurs. Condominiums do not tend to produce children. Brady Murphy talked last year to the East Attendance Area Task Force noting that the existing housing stock has the potential to become single family homes again after drawing out students and empty nesters.

v Area meetings will have comment sheets from which to formulate ideas.

v Very complicated dealing with Lake View overcrowding and boundary issues and class size changes.

v Administration will look at the 2012 projections related to the proposed changes; not sure it can be done.

v Actual enrollment at the schools is included on the data sheets.

v There was some discussion about having to deal with capacity at the middle schools. There are several options for managing it for next year; it is the following year that Hamilton will have 800 alone. Depends on what the Board does with class size. Administration will bring back recommendations.

FOLLOW UP: Change meeting location on February 6 to Sherman Middle School.

5. MMSD Elementary Schools with Declining Enrollment

No discussion.

6. Proposed Solutions for Overcrowding at Chavez and Lake View Elementary Schools

DISCUSSION:

Chavez Ideas (all are posted on the district web site), including pros and cons for each option:

#1 - Outpost Chavez 4th grade students (98 students need four classrooms) to Orchard Ridge Elementary.

#2 - Outpost Chavez kindergarteners (133 students need 9 classrooms) to Orchard Ridge and Toki Middle.

#3 - Move students from High Ridge Trail (59 students) to Thoreau and reassign Allied Drive neighborhood to Stephens and Crestwood only.

#4 - Move students from High Ridge Trail to Leopold.

#5 - Assign only Chavez kindergarten students (25), who will move to the new school, to Orchard Ridge for one year, keeping other Chavez kindergarten students at Chavez.

#6 - Assign K-2 students from Chavez (77), who will move to the new school, to Orchard Ridge for one year.

#7 - Assign K-5 students from Chavez (90), who will move to the new school, to Crestwood for one year.

#8 - Increase class size at Chavez in grades 2 and 3 (increases capacity to 686, without a flexible classroom).

DISCUSSION:

  • Overwhelming response from parents at recent meeting was to try to figure it out within the school for one year.
  • Need to know the budgetary issues of class size.
  • Possible programmatic alternatives for Chavez: SAGE blocks in the larger classrooms; continue to have music in the cafeteria or in the classrooms; lounge and OT/PT could be used for classrooms; stage is very large area, etc.
  • If the community and the district come to an agreement, no action needed by the committee.
  • Decisions dependent on class size issue.

7. Other Business

There was no other business.

8. Adjournment

It was moved by Arlene Silveira and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.

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