National Consultant Shannon Bingham, facilitator of the Olympia School District (OSD)’s work session reported the 50-page findings of the School Efficiency Review Committee last Thursday
The committee is one of the school district’s Citizens Advisory Committees (CACs), and their findings in previous work sessions were outlined in the report, showing “scenario bundles” and school rankings to be used in making school consolidation decisions.
OSD garnered several public comments during previous board meetings because of the committee’s recommendations on closing and combining schools to save costs.
Members against closures, ranking reveals seven low-scoring schools
“The majority of the committee members on the CAC were very uncomfortable with the concept of school closure, and I would say a third of them – extremely against closing schools,” said Bingham.
Bingham added that although the members were against closures, they acknowledged their charge in their charter and proposed various recommendations like grade configuration.
“Grade configuration changes are a way to minimize school closure because you look at areas where there is a high density of multiple buildings that are under underutilized,” Bingham said. “You look at closing one of a cluster, and that tends to preserve the level of public school seat availability.”
Bingham also explained that the committee has mathematically ranked schools based on their size, utilization, socio-economic factors, facility condition, prior investment, future development potential, combinability of boundary areas, and walkability.
The low-scoring schools are:
“So, these are the seven that, according to all of those rubrics, scored the lowest and would be the schools that would leave the district in the best condition, and they were decided to be taken offline,” Bingham said.
The scores have no direct bearing in the final CAC ranking, and its only purpose is to give the committee members data to use in making informed decisions regarding consolidation candidates.
Bingham also shared scenario “bundles” to be used on the decision-making process, which included three to four meetings worth of demographics, analytics, enrollment forecast, generational data, and school efficiency studies.
The bundles are divided into two- conventional bundles and grade reconfiguration bundles. These committee members then ranked these bundles and eliminated some based on a “viability poll”.
“After we did that, we took all that disparity information, and we consolidated it into a group of surviving scenarios based on their initial round. And we had come up with about a $1 million per school savings potential based on some evaluation that they did,” said Bingham. “We came up with a savings of $3-5 million per bundle for this that that came out of the small groups.”
Four scenarios were eliminated in the process:
The final CAC scoring revealed the five most preferred scenarios:
The committee will meet again on Thursday, December 7, for another work session.
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Tuesday, December 5, 2023 Report this