West / Memorial Forum Audio/Video Archive (11/15/2005 @ Leopold)

Watch this event (about 90 minutes) or Listen (mp3 audio)

A public forum was held to update the community on plans to address overcrowding in the West-Memorial attendance area at Leopold Elementary School Tuesday evening. Troy reports 150 people attended (in the comments, take a look at the video clip for details), rather decent, given some other events I’ve participated in – much more than my quick estimate of 40, which was wrong. [Editor: gotta love the quick feedback loop. Anyone else have a count? :)] In any event, substantive questions were discussed and raised.

A number of ideas were shared along with quite a few public comments. I’ve summarized a few below (from my notes) (there were many more – have a look at the video):

  • Why does Van Hise Elementary have such a small low income population relative to other schools?
  • What data supports the creation of “paired schools” from a student achievement perspective?
  • Why are we considering busing children all the way to Marquette / Lapham [map]?
  • (this comment was made after the official event closed) Why won’t the MMSD build a school (farther south) in Fitchburg?
  • I asked: “Why were no scenarios / ideas presented vis a vis the nearby [map] Wright Middle School Facility?”

This 3 page pdf Forum / idea summary was sent to all Thoreau parents Tuesday. UPDATE: Arlene Silveira mentions, via email, that she thought about 120 attended.

9 thoughts on “West / Memorial Forum Audio/Video Archive (11/15/2005 @ Leopold)”

  1. I once again am surprised at how inaccuracies are presented on the net after reading this post. I was at the forum as well. I actually counted how many people were in attendance because I thought of bringing up the point that my classroom is adjacent to the cafeteria where we were meeting. I counted 153 people in attendance. I thought of bringing up how difficult it is to teach in a lunchroom that is adjacent to where more than four times the amount of people who are attending the forum. That is why I actually counted the people. This was before the two rows were added behind my seat in the back of the lunchroom. Mystery # 3. Where did the other 110 people go who attended the forum????

  2. Mistake flagged and corrected. Let’s move on.
    I’d hate to detract focus from the far more important fact that those of us who were not there can still see the presentations and consider the ideas thanks to the on-line audio and video. This may not seem like much, but there is no way that newspaper reports, meeting minutes, etc. can completely capture the good, the bad, and the just plain boring at these meetings.
    Thank you for taking the time and donating your skills so that we can ‘see for ourselves.’

  3. Well that mystery was solved quickly! I was very happy to see the how well the meeting was attended. I am also glad that the community can see for themselves how much work the taskforce has done for the students of MMSD. I do not envy the position that they are in. Very difficult decisions will need to be made that will affect the education and future of MMSD. As one of the speakers said, we are not just talking about dots on a map, but our country’s most valuable resource-our children. Thankfully today was teacher-parent conferences. I always get a fresh perspective on my students after meeting with their families. After last night’s meeting I needed to recharge my batteries as a teacher in the district.

  4. I just have to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” to all who record events like this so those of us who could not possibly come but really wanted to, still have a chance to see and hear what really happened. I know that some media forms try harder than others to give a balanced view, but I also know that a truly non-biased biew is almost impossible (as it is to a lesser degree in video, etc., since not everyone can be in a picture or on tape at the same time). I really appreciate this chance: thanks again! I only wish it were possible to attend more of the meetings I would like to go to at 10:30 at night or 4 in the afternoon, whenever I have the chance. 🙂 I only wish all the parents who would like to, could see this, but it is virtually impossible without home access that half of our student families still don’t have. You can’t exactly sit and listen to an audio broadcast for 60-90 minutes in a library at a public access terminal!

  5. More important than the numbers in attendance was Troy’s comment:
    I thought of bringing up how difficult it is to teach in a lunchroom that is adjacent to where the forum was presented.
    If you tour Leopold, you will notice the decreased size of the cafeteria to make classrooms adjacent to the area. It was the only space left to create make-shift rooms. They start lunch at 10:30 am and finish around 1:00 pm. There are 6 shifts of more than 100 students. (Enrollment = 678 at Leopold)
    Congratulations should go out to the staff that continue to decrease the gap and were rewarded a School of Promise.
    To answer 3 of the questions above:
    Van Hise has been considered for increased disparity. It is currently the only non-SAGE school on the city’s’ Westside. If we increase the percentage low income, then I believe they deserve SAGE which would require more space than they currently available.
    Marquette / Lapham were considered because they have space. It’s a consideration of using the space available in the district.
    A building in Fitchburg would require land; land that the district does not own and that the Fitchburg planner stated was not available. (Reference meeting minutes from October 20th, 2005: http://www.mmsd.org/boe/longrange/0506/memwest/20051025/minutes.pdf)
    Fitchburg is split as a city; attending 3 different districts (Oregon; Verona and Madison). Those attending MMSD pay MMSD taxes. A school for the district would have to be built on MMSD land or land that has been annexed to MMSD. If anyone can find land, I’m sure the district would consider it.

  6. Thanks, Marisue for posting these comments. Do you have some links to the data for Van Hise (square footage, SAGE implications at that school)? This Van Hise question has come up frequently over the years and it would be helpul to post the facility data and SAGE implications vis a vis other MMSD elementary schools.
    With respect to Fitchburg, I recall that Promega founder Bill Linton offered the Madison School District land years ago (Eagle School is located on that property, after the Madison Schools turned this land down). This was clearly a big miss for Fitchburg and the Madison School District.
    Given Fitchburg’s development plans, I imagine that there are other opportunities.

  7. The calculations for building capacity and space were shared in Meeting #1. (http://www.mmsd.org/boe/longrange/0506/memwest/20050920/)
    Enrollments are shared in the first October Meeting. (http://www.mmsd.org/boe/longrange/0506/Third_Friday_September_2005_Official_Enrollment.pdf)
    The land for Van Hise is also shared by Hamilton Middle School. Two shared facilities.
    For specific requests, and recommendations, I would really like people to go to the new MMSD on-line forum at:
    Everyone can log onto http://www.mmsd.org; click on Long Range Planning and the forum is at the middle of the page. Citizens do not need to register to propose a question/solution/or idea for consideration.
    As a member of the task force, I’m looking for solutions to a problem that actually should have been planned for 5 years ago. So I’d like everyone to consider sharing ideas; not complaints.
    Yes…I recall the Promega land was brought up last spring. Hindsight is always bliss; I wish everyone shared a consistent vision for future planning.
    Given Fitchburg’s development plans, MMSD space is not available, not owned and…at least, I know of nothing being discussed between the city/district and land owners within the MMSD area.

  8. Where can I and other parents/community members find succinct summaries of the full list of options put forth and being considered by each task force. I looked on the website – lots of minutes, mention of forums, newsletters, etc. There may be parents who cannot attend the forums and are not likely to go through all the material but would benefit from succinct summaries of the options.
    I think Van Hise would only have a space problem with SAGE if the low income population as a K-5 school. Fewer grades might not present the same space problem.

  9. I’d expect the East task force to narrow down their 19 options CONSIDERABLY at the next meeting. Then I’d gander that they can publish said options on the MMSD website.
    In terms of Van Hise space, remember that SAGE comes in different forms. Full SAGE needs much more space than modified SAGE. Van Hise is currently 22% free & reduced, so don’t expect it to suddently jump to full SAGE, which requires a much larger free & reduced population (the numbers for full & modified change year to year).

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