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Could there be a more convincing and thorough proof that government should not attempt to operate what could otherwise be private businesses?
Government is so messed up that it cannot even sell a property without it appearing to be a sweetheart deal to politically connected insiders (local realtors Bart K and Kenny R represent the city selling property to local realtor Jon Sanders - so obviously no possibility of selling city property for a bit less as a personal favor that will be repaid soon enough. And the sale has empty promises of workforce housing and yet no legal obligation preventing them from doing anything).
Their demographer in his report states that he is using "cohort survival method".
That method takes the differences between two grade for a number of years and uses the average of those differences as the most likely typical change between those two grades. For the projections used primarily by the school district to determine future needs, the period of time was three years of historical enrollment data. This is generally a good method because the next grade is mostly the same as last year's previous grade and so is a good base from which to make adjustments.
The challenge is how to predict the kindergarten enrollment. In that situation there is no recent accurate count that is reliably next year's kindergarten class. I did a little research and the articles I found on the topic were of large school districts describing how they use local births plus other factors which they have found to be reliable (such as an adjustment for a large new apt complex) to predict kindergarten class. So that is what I did.
Since kindergarten is optional in Colorado then there is a typical 10+% more 1st grade students than previous year kindergarten students. It has locally varied from 5% to over 20%. Thus, I have found that it is actually more accurate against historical data to predict future first grade classes and then subtract 10% to determine the more probable previous year kindergarten class.
It is not a more accurate way of predicting the kindergarten class, but it is a more accurate way of predicting the first grade class so then the cohort survival method can be applied to more accurately predict 2nd and other grades.
SSSD's demographer takes the average change in kindergarten enrollment over the past 3 years and adds that to the most recent kindergarten class. Obvious problem with that method is that next year's kindergarten class does not consist of this year's kindergarten class. It is a lazy method that hopes all of the underlying trends remain the same. It goes very wrong in years like 2015 kindergarten class that are based upon 2010 births to locals substantially less then 2007-2009. And 2010 is not the worst of it for local births, 2012-2014 drops further and does so for 3 years.
"The district's demographer uses professional software to model future enrollment on a wide variety of variables including historical enrollment growth, land development, in-migration, non-location specific job growth, employment and unemployment levels, student distribution, enrollment in comparable and adjacent districts, school performance, birth rates and personal interviews of local business and municipal officials when developing projections. This model has served our district within a +/- 2% accuracy range the past 10 years."
Yet another easily proven false statement. The only data used by the demographer in his projections is previous SSSD enrollment data.
I don't know if Scott B is intentionally lying to deceive the public or if the demographic intentionally lied to deceive Scott B, SSSD, BoE and the public.
Either way, it goes to the heart of the matter that we have inaccurate projections not using the methods claimed to have been used.
I talked to Scott Ford and he says the deal is not as crooked as I suggest.
Regardless, the public process for this gives no reason for public confidence. The description of what has happened so far reads like a backroom deal to favored politically connected buyers that know how to allow city council to claim they are preserving workforce housing without any requirements that it be kept as workforce housing.
An open process worthy of public trust requires publicly stating what is the best deal so far and make it clear that someone offering a better deal would be welcomed. So that no other potential buyer could claim that they were never offered the conditions upon which the potential buyer was given.
Real estate sales are allowed to occur in executive session, but that is not a requirement. Generally, an open auction is considered the fairest way to get the best price. So a potential deal negotiated by two city council members after city council held an executive session should only be considered as a first bid. It may be the winning bid, but city council needs to make it clear that additional offers would be welcome.
Oh, more deceit.
First, SSSD is net +120 or so more students taken from neighboring districts. Saying that there is a student or two in SSSD attending out of district is misleading because the net impact is that SSSD is overall taking a large number of students from neighboring districts. For Soroco, it is about 20% of the students that live in Soroco's district.
Second, it continues the lie that SSSD is acting as required by state law. State law explicitly states "school or program" lacking room as being valid reason to not allow out of district students. Aspen and Cherry Creek both apply the school rule to prevent overcrowding in their schools due to out of district students.
And they did their best to make it as inaccurate as possible. Simply using annual births in one year to predict enrollment 5 years later isn't the most accurate. Though, It is more accurate than they method they use.
When you realize the birth date cut off to be in a grade is not Jan 1 then it suggests modifying the model to reflect reality. So when I take 66% of births 5 years ago and 33% of births 6 years as a better model reflecting reality of the cut off date and kids on the young side not quite ready just older than the cut off date being held back then I get a number that does correlate much better to kindergarten enrollment.
And the most accurate predictive method I have found so far is using 66% of Routt county births 6 years ago and 33% of Routt County births 7 years ago to predict first grade enrollment. Kindergarten to first grade is probably affected by kindergarten being optional and so there is less consistency in how kindergarten leads to first grade enrollment than that weighted average of local births.
See, I can provide specific descriptions of specific methods.
I have used the form available on the Col Dept of health to request monthly births to locals back to at least 2000. Then I can use 12 months of birth data that matches the enrollment cut off and that should be even more accurate.
And you get an answer from Yes2 consisting of exactly the opposite of the question you asked.
The emperor has no clothes. Instead of showing us the fabric they keep saying it was woven by the finest weavers. That someone with the right qualifications can see the fabric. That it is so light that only those with the finest senses can feel the fabric.
You and I know that it would take less than an hour to prove my numbers wrong if they were wrong. With $92M at stake, you would think that they would tell their demographer to spend the hour to prove me wrong. But all their demographer did was "stand by" his calculations and not claim he could demonstrate it was a better method.
I got a response from district explaining their plans in detail. It is to have 3 sessions per day at $25 per session. So it would be $75 for a full day, but district isn't offering that. It is a session at $25 per session. So there would not be massive subsidies because they are not offering daycare and their sessions are expensive.
Okay, got it. Elementary schools are crowded. And so why did SSSD accept 10 out of district kindergarten and 4 first grade students. To intentionally make the problem worse?
And this bond measure is not on Dec 1, 2015 going to fix the situation at the schools. It is going to take years to build the new high school. By the time that is built then the elementary schools will be facing declining enrollment. In the real world, a 30% decline in births to local for 2012-2014 (and apparently continuing) means fewer students.
"How did we let it get to this point?"
SSSD staff and school board failed to ask critical questions. They were panicked by a demographic report showing 30% growth in elementary school students that would then be too much for the middle school and then too much for the high school.
They failed to ask how student growth could so greatly exceed overall SB area growth. They failed to ask how student growth could increase so much when births to locals had declined by 30%. They failed to understand the methods used in the demographic projection. They failed to realize the demographic method used is exceptionally dependent upon kindergarten enrollment now and 3 years ago. They failed to understand that predicting future kindergarten enrollment based upon prior kindergarten enrollment is an inaccurate, unreliable method.
They were apparently deceived by their demographer's claims that a whole host of data was used in the future projections of student enrollment when, in fact, only historical enrollment data was used to project future enrollment.
They have chosen to believe false accounts that local births counts births at YVMC and is not tracked by parent's home address. They have chosen to "stand by" their demographer that "stands by" his projections and projection method.
Just as the link above on "why not expand the high school" never bothers to justify why they claim the high school needs to be expanded beyond what will fit on the current site. They never present a number of expected enrollment. They just say that it cannot handle the growth. They fail to mention that births to locals is down 30% and anyone willing to ask questions would doubt that student enrollment is going to increase 30%.
Last login: Saturday, October 10, 2015
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