What are the Task Force options?

The newsletters posted on the MMSD’s Long Range Planning page say that the East task force narrowed its considerations to eight options, and the West/Memorial narrowed its considerations to seven.
Could someone please post a list of the options for each task force?

8 thoughts on “What are the Task Force options?”

  1. The East Task Force presented 8 preliminary options. They did not “narrow down” anything. In fact, there will be a plethora of other options proposed at the November 10th meeting. Anything “on the table” can be removed, and at this point, anything can be put “on the table”. Perhaps Rita Applebaum forgot about stating this at the last meeting when she posted the minutes?
    The preliminary options ranged from the general to the specific. One option (presented by the Emerson task force rep)closes Sherman Middle and Gompers Elementary. It would then make the Sherman-Shabazz building an alternative site by bringing in Brearly Street’s programs. Blackhawk Middle (which becomes a 5th-8th grade in her scenario) and O’Keefe would take the Sherman Middle kids, and all the Gompers students would disperse throughout the northside. Oh yeah, it would keep Emerson open (surprise!). Unfortunately, that would give the north side TWO segregated schools as the poorest kids live on the (Blackhawk)northport side of Sherman.
    Other options include: reuniting the Packers Townhouse kids at either Mendota or Gompers (they currently attend Mendota and Lindbergh); specifying that any child in a new or in-fill development be bussed to underenrolled schools; moving MSCR from Hoyt to free up some west area space and putting MSCR wherever it will fit (even in pieces as needed) to maximize space usage. There are a few others along those general lines, including the general idea that no schools close and any empty space is filled by existing programming that could be considered mobile (MSCR, Brearly, TEP, Early Childhood, etc.)
    I know that several other proposals will be made, including, but not limited to, closing Emerson and relocating MSCR there in it’s totality; closing Emerson and relocating MSCR AND Brearly Alternative there; plus scenarios that close each east and north side elementary-essentially putting every school on the table.
    There was no vote to prioritize these proposals. By 9pm, over half of the task force was gone, and several members had emergencies or other engagements that precluded their attendance in the first place.

  2. David,
    Thanks for the write-up. I was surprised to see Ed’s post because it seemed off from what I’d seen during the portion of the Task Force meeting that I attended. (I had to leave to be somewhere else at 8)
    One comment: The meetings start at 6:30. I had to leave at 8, I’ve spoken to people who had to leave at 9 (after 2.5 hours of meeting, which seems like a serious time commitment to me). Are there ways that the meetings could be streamlined or run in a more efficient manner? I’m worried that the marathon-esque nature of these processes will work against citizen participation in the future.

  3. Sorry if “narrowed down” wasn’t the right phrase. I guess the newsletters say the the task forces “identified” options for further research.

  4. Lucy: I don’t think they can be streamlined anymore UNLESS they stop the portion of the agenda whereby every school rep speaks about how they communicate to their school. It seems in theory to be proper, but in practice, either they do it or they don’t….and in at least one case, a task force rep made a proposal that hadn’t been run by the parents at their school whatsoever…so I’m not sure this is a valid excercise, maybe valid only so the LRPC can say they made the effort. It’s hard to get citizens to do squat, even in Madison. Some reps showed up the first or second time, only to be overwhelmed and never show up again. Heck, Ed Holmes has NEVER showed up at an East Task Force meeting and he’s on the task force….the other side of the equation is that they excluded PTO presidents, typically folks who are VERY involved, so you’d have to ask the Board and Art why (if, in fact, they worry about citizen involvement). Personally, I show up at every meeting because the outcome will affect my kids in every aspect of their years in the MMSD.

  5. Dave gave a great summary of our last meeting, part of which I had to miss due to the East orchestra concert. We spend so much time at the beginning of the meeting doing introductions and talking about communications to other parents and community members, that we hardly have any time to really talk about what we’re supposed to be talking about! The frustrating part about that is, since the task force hasn’t really done any substantive discussion at the meetings about options on the East side, there really isn’t anything official to communicate to anybody. And the options that were thrown on the table on Tuesday were not really discussed in the meeting at all…..things were thrown out, Rita wrote them down, no discussion as to whether or not they had merit….or at least that’s what I gathered since I missed a part of the meeting when people started throwing out ideas. We have a long way to go before we’ll be narrowing down anything.
    One note of interest regarding 5-yr enrollment projections — the numbers we are working with this year are considerably different than they were last year. In the East attendance area, last year the projection for FY10 was that there would be 463 empty seats, now for FY11 the projection is 556. For LaFollette, it was 526 empty seats in FY10, now showing a shortage of 163 seats in FY11. That’s almost a 700 student swing in the projection for the LaFollette area. Kurt Kiefer had a valid explanation as to why the numbers were so different (part of which was human error in the calculations last year) and says he feels confident about this year’s numbers, but I really wonder how heavily we should rely on the projections in making decisions — especially if we’re considering closing a particular building. Seems like we need to leave ourselves some wiggle room in the event that projections are off — future flexibility would seem to be important. (The projections for the westside were also quite different from last year….last year Memorial was expected to have 3 available seats in FY10, West was expected to be 195 seats short; this year Memorial is expected to be 256 seats short and West to have 65 seats available.)

  6. Jill,
    Your experience with MMSD data is typical. It seems to change like the wind.
    Take nothing at face value, as you are learning.

  7. For all the talk about communications, I have received not one bit of communication from anyone connected with either task force. What I know, I learn from the MMSD Web site or schoolinfosystem.org.
    By the way, who is my school represenative on the West/Memorial task force? We’re always told to contact our school rep if we have questions or comments about the task force work. I live on the East side, so I guess that I don’t have a rep to contact on the West side task force.

  8. Jill is spot on in her analysis of the data presented so far to the East Task Force. My view is that we can rely on the largest projections (total students, free & reduced numbers, special ed numbers) but that the more specific a projection gets, the more apt Kurt Keifer is to be erroneous. It’s not always his fault either. The MMSD is a huge beaurocracy and he is only as accurate as the different arms of the organization allow him to be (in terms of feeding him the correct info to begin with). Couple that with purely human error…I must say that in the past 3 years, MMSD has provided more accurate projections for my local elementary than they did in the previous 5 years.
    In terms of communication to the public, it’s very clear to me that the district wants folks to rely on the website. The only folks who will get briefed in person are those who have a task force rep for their school that chooses to do a town hall meeting of some type. I’ve had no one come up to me and ask what’s going on, other than Sandy Cullen or Board members. Once options get published in the paper, I expect that to change.

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