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So we should build a new high school now because we might need it in 20 years? Spend $92M because we can?
We are being asked to build school facilities for a 30% increase in elementary school students over the next 4 years and neither city or county is expecting anything close to that sort of growth. With 2012-2014 local births being 30% lower than births 2007-2009 (the blob) then any normal school district would be talking about declining enrollment. But our lazy demographer uses a method that says SSSD kindergarten enrollment as of Oct 1 2011 and Oct 1 2014 are the two critical facts and projects 30% elementary school growth by 2019 from those two numbers.
The ridiculous nature of those projections are exposed since if using Oct 1 2012 and Oct 1 2015 kindergarten enrollment then suddenly there is less than 10% growth by 2019. In less than a year, using the exact same method, growth projections would have decreased from 30% to less than 10%. Give our lazy demographers a few months to consider the local decline in births and soon enough he'll project a decline of 10%.
And in this situation we are expected to approve $92M in bond to handle projected 30% growth by 2019?
Maybe the Yes2 folks should hold a weekly money burning party. Just charge a dollar per day for everyone since the last money burning party and see how many show up to burn their money.
The reason they have been cutting hours is because people have not been showing up in sufficient numbers when open. So they were losing more money being open at noon and so on.
Maybe a private operator could turn around ski operations, but right now it is a massive $780,000 annual money pit for the city about twice the annual cost as the Iron Horse fiasco. Small ski areas around the state have been closing because they have been losing money. Seems that generally if people are going to spend the money for the equipment and travel then they don't mind paying for a Ski Corps lift ticket or ski pass.
If I was dictator of the school district then I would call CU or where ever are demographics experts that understand theory as well as practice. I would ask them to look at various ideas such as the projections by SSSD's accountant demographer, the outrageous local and process SSSD's student data to get relevant demographic info to determine what is a best demographic model and then make enrollment growth projections.
If the true demographic experts don't project 30% growth over what is now 4 years then I would be inclined to build a Whistler elementary school. It would seem to make more sense to make all elementary schools k-6 to free up room in the middle school instead of making Whistler K-8. But I would listen to parents if they had ideas for what might be described as a middle school magnet program. High school can benefit from remodeling and it would seem to benefit from a modest expansion of some additional classrooms as the blob of students in the elementary and middle schools will push enrollment towards (but below) it's designed capacity.
I would hold off on making big changes to PreK and the Pine St building. First off, the field there is considered by many to be a community resource and the buildings to be historic. So any changes will want to have a very detailed, well discussed plans possibly with alternatives if funding from outside can be found to preserve the building or the field. Second, if enrollment drops as expected then we could move PreK and even administration staff to the spare space in the elementary schools while they do whatever is decided with Pine St. At that time we will also have a much better idea if the dip in enrollment was a blip as a special situation resulting from the recovering of the Great Recession or a long term trend. So it can be decided if PreK and staff will soon need other facilities such as a refurbished Pine St or new facilities on another parcel.
And thus I have saved the people of SB some $40M to $50M which I would then use for personal pleasure like any good dictator.
It was suggested to me that the number of students increases by about 20 from kindergarten to first grade, but that there are some larger and smaller fluctuations and so maybe first grade is a better grade for which to make projections. So I decided to run the numbers and it is true that first grade enrollment has a better correlation to local births than kindergarten enrollment to local births. For predicting 1st grade enrollment, I use a weighted average of 2/3 of Routt County births 6 years ago and 1/3 Routt County births 7 years ago because that seems to be close to what is seen in the classroom.
That method projects that SCE/SPE will have 134 fewer students in 2020 than today.
There are reasons to believe it overstates the decline because that model does not include students that move here. SB is not seeing massive increases in population so most people moving here are matched with other people leaving. But the people moving here may not be as affected by a lower birth rate as those living here. So, people moving here would represent more of a constant number of additional students and thus reduce the impact of local fluctuations in the birth rate.
Thus, a very rough calculation would say that SCE/SPE in 2019 will have about 50 fewer students than today and that would become 75 fewer students in 2020.
The school district should have years of data on how many students were born in the district, born in the county (presumably a percentage with plans on moving to SB and manage to do so) and those that move here. So if they were interested in developing a more accurate demographic model then it was always available to them.
Instead they allow their demographer to use a lazy and inaccurate method that relies upon just two numbers, the current kindergarten enrollment and the kindergarten enrollment 3 years ago to determine over 80% of the 2019 projected elementary school enrollment.
If they school district had an in house person run the projections every year (all of the projections in every SSSD demographic report have been based purely upon current and recent enrollment numbers and easily represented in a spreadsheet) then they would have seen that they are using a crappy method. Some years that would project 5 years of no growth. Other years it would project 5 years of rapid growth. Because the school district has not made annual projections then the silliness of their demographic report was not caught and caused them to think they need a massive expansion of capacity.
So how much money per person using the facilities should be spent? Howelson ski operations already requires $60 in subsidies per skier day.
There is a fundamental fact that there was a time it was the only ski hill in the area and everyone skied there all the time. That was before Mt Werner which is clearly a better ski operations and is now where locals ski.
Elementary and middle school are over capacity and even with some years of smaller classes expected due to fewer local births then schools will still be tight.
I think we could use a school at Whistler. Plenty of nearby students and students in rural southern side of district to fill it. Plans could be for it to be a K-8 or make all elementary schools K-6.
It would just save $50+M by building a school half as big as the proposed high school and removing the need to remodel the middle school and high school to be suitable for younger kids.
Too bad they believed a bad demographics report and eliminated a good workable solution as being inadequate to deal with the laughable projected growth.
So the reason you are not using heroin today is because it is illegal or because law enforcement makes it just a bit too expensive for you?
Just saying that no one should be surprised if we don't see these charges being dropped.
Let us not forget that these same administrative staff and teachers did not present this sort of letter to the school board last Spring demanding that some improvements be made for this year for the students currently attending the school.
So apparently the political pressure to support the $92M bond has altered their views.
But a government unable to specify their 911 services contract has functional redundancy over different physical paths is hardly likely to do well entering the telecommunications business.
I would not say that Macys and Ford are the "conservative pair". Macys is much more of a liberal than conservative. Scott Ford has shown a willingness to let the city do what they say is needed to meet objectives set by city council.
Last login: Sunday, August 30, 2015
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