Scott Wedel

Scott Wedel 5 hours, 12 minutes ago on Which of the preliminary building ideas for Steamboat Schools, which were introduced at a recent CC4E meeting, would you support (see steamboattoday.com/news/2016/nov/29/committee-reveals-five-options-future-steamboat-sp/)?

Russell,

I think it should be explained that no one knows what the long term situation will be.

It is like driving a car on a road during a blinding blizzard. The smart strategy is to drive to the next road delineator and then to the next one. You could hit the gas and assume the road is straight for a few miles, but soon enough you will be wrong and in the ditch.

A solution expected to work for 5 years plus a few is actually the right way to do it. If you look at recent history, then rarely do we go 10 years without substantial changes. Even planning for 10 years should be done with the expectation that big things will have happened.

The local births had already occurred that proper demographics analysis should have known and predicted that SCE was going to be too small when it was remodeled. That should be a lesson to do it right the first time.

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Scott Wedel 14 hours, 36 minutes ago on Which of the preliminary building ideas for Steamboat Schools, which were introduced at a recent CC4E meeting, would you support (see steamboattoday.com/news/2016/nov/29/committee-reveals-five-options-future-steamboat-sp/)?

Russell,

Looks to me that facilities group got themselves tangled in similar expectations of high enrollment growth expected to occur past the timeframe of the recent demographics report and other assumptions such as continued major growth in OOD enrollment (35% increase over 5 years), greatly increased space for preK without any answers on how expanded preK would be funded and so on.

The "better plan" are more modest solutions that recognize that 35-50% growth over 20 years is going to change SB in unpredictable ways. So the better plan is not to try to have a permanent solution, but what is definitely a 5 year solution and could be a 10 year solution and see what happens.

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Scott Wedel 1 day, 8 hours ago on Margaret Huron: Change is needed

I agree with Russell's comment with the revision that the ball is now in the entire school board's court to work together for the good of the community. The distinction being that Margaret is probably part of the majority of many votes regardless whether she is president of the board.

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Scott Wedel 1 day, 13 hours ago on Which of the preliminary building ideas for Steamboat Schools, which were introduced at a recent CC4E meeting, would you support (see steamboattoday.com/news/2016/nov/29/committee-reveals-five-options-future-steamboat-sp/)?

Russell,

I was at the election night event for the Better Plan folks when Overlook lost 4-1. About everyone there had stories of trying to provide input for different than Overlook that was ignored or not accepted because decisions had already been made. That is what the CC4E process is supposed to avoid.

You don't form a committee to work for a year with the expectation of a minimal solution, but that may be the wise solution. Looks to me that the region where there are more students that elementary schools is downtown. Thus, the logical place to add capacity is SCE and that should be all that is needed for 5-7 years in which we have reasonably accurate forecasts. Likewise, MS and HS just need modest additions to handle the bubble that results from 2007-2009 births as 2010-2016 births results in an extended period of flat enrollment at lower levels. I think the bigger need at the HS are more science classrooms than an expansion to handle more students.

And then say something like keep getting professional demographics reports and if birth rate increases or if there is major growth then use the following guidelines on how to handle that situation. If we had student growth anything comparable to what was forecast in the earlier Western Demographics report then options like these would make much more sense. But these options are to handle speculated future growth which it is reasonable to wait and see what actually happens.

I would also note that charter schools tend to be stable (as they have funding) and it is more likely that more charter schools will open over time than the Montessori charter school closes. Thus, it makes no sense to build spare capacity to handle a collapse of the Montessori, but to have an emergency contingency plan of where modular classrooms would be placed, etc in case of that event.

I think there also needs to be a lot of discussion on what to do about PreK because that is not funded for all at the state level. It is far from clear that a school district does PreK better or at a lower cost than private preschools. It would be extremely costly to say we need new elementary schools because we want to move preK for at risk kids from 7th street into the elementary schools.

Likewise, the stated objective to move YVHS (alternative HS) into the HS is also very questionable. If they would be happy and fine in the HS then they would be in the HS. That there is an alternative HS recognizes that there are kids that for whatever reasons do not want to be in the general HS.

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Scott Wedel 2 days, 3 hours ago on Steamboat Springs City Council sets goals at retreat

Lock,

Seems to me that there is a substantial city owned parking lot at the rodeo grounds that for unexplained reasons is only used for rodeo events.

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Scott Wedel 2 days, 4 hours ago on Our view: Steamboat’s middle class at risk

I think a fundamental issue facing SB is that there are a couple thousand or so workers living outside of SB and commuting. Thus, there is already a "solution" being used by a significant portion of the population which is to not live in SB, but outlying areas.

So if the problem is a defined as a lack of affordable housing within SB then those that would like that solution are not just some newcomers seeking SB housing for their new SB job, but thousands of existing regional residents that had to choose to live well outside of SB.

Hopefully, any analysis will include the regional realities and not be some fantasy saying that what thousands of regional residents are doing is not a substantial part of any solutions.

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Scott Wedel 2 days, 5 hours ago on Which of the preliminary building ideas for Steamboat Schools, which were introduced at a recent CC4E meeting, would you support (see steamboattoday.com/news/2016/nov/29/committee-reveals-five-options-future-steamboat-sp/)?

Russell,

It is a sad joke.

A professional demographer was hired and came back with a report forecasting significantly different K-5 future in 5 years. We have the data to know what is needed to deal with overcrowding within the predicable future.

So what happens? The facilities group decides they are more expert than the professional demographer and comes up with their own forecasts for 10 and 20 years. Their own data shows that growth rates have seriously changed twice in the past 20 years so that over 10 years the difference from before and after has been 20%. Which, to anyone that cares about data should be proof positive that we cannot pretend to make decisions based upon claims of enrollment forecasts for 10 or 20 years.

What the facilities task force did with a professional demographer's 5 years forecasts to create 10 and 20 years forecasts is worse than Western Demographics report. At least Western Demographics properly used cohorts for existing grades so that grades 5-12 were reasonable forecasts. But what facilities did for their "analysis" is pure speculation. They have fallen in love with the idea of a consistent predictable 1.7% growth rate as if that was an ordained Truth.

How in the world did we hire a professional demographer to use sound methodology to make 5 years forecasts only for others to make up 10 and 20 year forecasts and those 10 and 20 year forecasts be the ones that matter when considering solutions?

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Scott Wedel 2 days, 13 hours ago on Committee reveals five options for future of Steamboat Springs schools

Russell,

"One would think by now we would have one proposal backed up by facts and research."

CC4E up until this week had been very methodical. It was quickly realized that it would take until Nov 2017 before ballot measure would be ready. So there was a conscious effort to do it right based upon transparency and openness with lots of opportunities for public input.

They took time to determine what was wrong with the previous demographic report and decide what was wanted in a new report. Finance task force did a detailed explanation of school finance without making proposals. There have been public forums on both topics.

But now by releasing possible solutions they have done exactly the opposite of what gone on before. They have not released their research. There has been no public forum on their findings, but they did present favored solutions.

CC4E should admit this was a serious mistake and acknowledge that facilities findings needed to be publicly discussed prior to officially considering any solutions.

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Scott Wedel 2 days, 16 hours ago on Committee reveals five options for future of Steamboat Springs schools

I see that 40% of Denver schools are teachers, but that doesn't mean that other 60% are "administrators". That includes food service, bus drivers, security and so on. That percentage of employees being teachers doesn't seem too far out of whack. Denver does appear to have an extra couple hundred of administrators compared to other school districts, but they say that is due to managing the charter schools.

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