SCHS Too Big to Succeed
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Well, here we are.  Are you going to the school board meeting Tuesday evening? The School Board has shown true to form in ignoring our news release request for a community forum and a letter of non reprisal for board employees who may want to comment at the meeting. And now they count on you not showing up. It is how they handle these issues, and for good reason. Historically, it works.

But never has there been this kind of organization. True, without the non reprisal letter, we district employees remain suppressed, but we hope you appreciate this spring board we have provided you. Thanks to some of the good people who read this site, this Tuesday’s meeting agenda does include a “public comment” agenda item. As an agenda item instead of a community forum, they will be able to limit your time, but there may never be another chance such as this to remind your school board that you are watching and you expect they represent your will. It is critical you show up. If not, they will continue with their blank check, behind closed doors mentality.

There can be no doubt now that this board is more about “being right” than “doing right”. You need only compare the board’s “letter of defense” (read the board’s letter) to its subsequent power point presentation defense. The power point presentation can be found under the title “Enrollment vs. Capacity” on any elementary school’s web page at the bottom of the district’s home
page at,  and it showed up after our last post exposed the district using funny numbers in the letter of defense. You should hold them to the letter of defense as it was worthy of their personal signatures.

Note that the power point drops the letter’s assertion that a new high school would cost the district between $60 to $80 million. This after we found that the district already had a new high school in its facility plan approved by the state for $36 million. This and more revealing information can be found at the state’s facility plan website (
. Curious that the board said the Local planning Committee (LPC) had prioritized the district’s needs as first a new elementary school, then an expanded cafeteria at the high school, then a new high school. The state’s facility plan web site has the new high school listed second. Hmmm?

The power point also handles the letter’s misstatement that “at any given time there are 432 students at ECS”. This number over states their case of how much ECS relieves the high school and is actually a double count as they have already used the 432 number in their capacity number for the high school. The real enrollment at ECS is about half that. Notice how the power point avoids this statement and how curiouslly it does so.

The board should be expected to answer why they have manipulated the data to fit their decision. The LPC can be forgiven for their recommendation because they were provided faulty data. Construction should stop until the real numbers are considered. More examples follow and the board should have to explain, and you shouldn’t accept anything less than the whole truth.

Why has the board understated the high school’s enrollment?  We have a mid January’s attendance at 2334 and that doesn’t include the day’s absenteeism. We suspect the true enrollment to be at least the 2400 that the News Graphic reported. And why have they overstated ECS’s effective capacity at 432 when only half of that are there at any given time? The real high school, ninth grade school and ECS capacity is 1932, not the 2148 the extra 216 gives them. The two errors combined make the high school’s overcapacity more like 500 than the 105 the board claims and explains why they feel compelled to expand the cafeteria. There would be no such need if they were only 105 over. And they still haven’t answered why not instead use that money for a cafeteria at ECS, which its Phase II plans call for and would be much more effective at relieving the current cafeteria. Hmmm?

Why does the board over state the elementary’s overcapacity?  In their number of 600 is included at least 130 overcapacity at the pre-school center. But more curious is that they count each one half day preschooler and each one half day kindergartner as a full enrollment. The overcapacity number should be reduced by one half the number of preschoolers and kindergartners. The true overcapacity is probably less than 400, probably much less. And that 400 is spread over eight facilities where the high school’s 500 is spread only between it and ECS. There are other manipulations in the letter.

We hesitated to discuss these numbers anticipating the letter of non reprisal would allow us to bring them up Tuesday night without giving the board time to contrive answers. We now must hope you will take the time to research them, understand them, ask about them and not accept contrived answers.

It is not going to be easy to stand and make your case.  Remember that courage is not the absence of fear. Even if we had gotten the letter of non reprisal, it was going to be tough for us. Remember the venue is designed to make your concerns seem small amongst the board’s haughty affairs. But your’s are not unimportant. You stand for all the unaggressive kids who have already suffered mightily in that crazed environment and all those yet to come. In fact, if you have a child in elementary today, you have a chance to make a big difference in your child’s high school years. Don’t let your excellent elementary student be yet another casualty of an environment that steals their prospects. 

SHOW UP and STAND UP. You will not get another chance like this.