November 1, 2023

School Facility Efficiency Review Committee


Meeting 8 Minutes: 11/1/23

Committee Convened: 5:38 PM.

Announcement prior to the meeting: Request that everyone sign in.


The facilitator Shannon Bingham (SB) from Western Demographics, Inc. (WDI) commended the committee for their commitment and attendance at this and the prior meetings.


Welcome from Mr. Bingham. He acknowledged the Squaxin tribal ancestry of the district.


SB described agenda which included: data items, parameters for 11 scenarios, pro/cons from committee, group work for discussion, ranking of top 5 scenarios, survey of committee members for order of preference, review of the survey results, recommendation for Board with motion. He noted that the Board would like 3 representatives from the committee for tomorrow’s board meeting. During public participation at the meeting on Nov. 9, members are also welcome to speak. There is no open public comment time at the work session tomorrow so only the presenters and board members will be able to speak.


As the survey from last week was being reviewed, some committee members expressed concern that scoring of survey items had been interpreted differently by the members with a specific concern that the order of preference was determined by overall group weighting multiplied by overall group scores instead of weighting responses for each individual survey, one response one at a time. It was decided that Janeen from WDI would prepare a rank order survey item for members to quickly verify that items and committee respondents are commonly interpreting how to rank the scenarios. The ranks collected on the new survey were reviewed. In order of preference the following scenarios were most to least preferred (top five): Scenario 3, 4, 1, 8 and 1A.


After some discussion regarding what was meant by scenarios 9, 10 and 11. SB polled the committee regarding an “Add Alternate” recommendation. The add alternate phrasing was decided to be: “specialized programs should be consolidated into fewer facilities” (3 into 2). A vote was taken. There were 27 yes votes for including “Add Alternate” and 4 no votes.


The committee members took the survey/poll on the remaining scenarios for further consideration. The results were reviewed. The committee was asked to react to the results that were reviewed.


A committee member proposed a preamble for use when presenting to the board. A committee member noted that there was never consensus of the group. That was acknowledge by SB and he replied that it was clear that the scenario scores that were the output of the committee represented a majority opinion. SB indicated he would make sure to share that it was the opinion of the group that the outcome would be described as a majority opinion on ranking the scenarios. He further elaborated that the preference of participants evaluating multiple options needs to be communicated. The “majority opinion” descriptor persisted to the end of this conversation.


SB proposed: The CAC majority opinion to be provided to the Board is that the scenarios ranked highest by the group for consideration are 3, 4, and 1. Additionally, the group recommends the options programs be combined into fewer facilities. Vote was taken as to whether the committee supported this statement:


Vote: 25 in favor.


Request from committee member: Show of hands for if you feel like the budget should look at other ways to be efficient. Response from another member: If multiple people write a letter with the same sentiment, that will make it clear.



Comments and questions from committee members during the meeting are noted below.


  • The Committee needs to be very deliberate about wording going to the board. I think it is important to share that none of us want to close schools. This is a very sensitive topic.

  • Is it your intent that only self-nominations or can we put in someone else’s name? SB responded: Proceed as you see fit. But make sure anyone nominated is willing and available.

  • Are people interested in seeing just the west side or just the east side [for scenario 1A]? SB indicated: We will address that in the survey later.

  • I want to make sure that the scores reflect what our intention was. Had we known the average weight was going to be used, we may have answered differently. Concerned that original individual responses are not reflected in the results.

  • As I received more information, I my opinion changed.

  • One of the consolidate programs options was meant to locate all of the programs into one site. SB responded: We can discuss that if any of the consolidated program items rank to be further considered.

  • It seems like scenarios 8 and 10 will survive. Can we talk about those two and see what those mean. SB asked: Can anyone articulate how a consolidation of the specialized programs into one building will functionally operate? Consider whether all the grade levels will work well in one facility.

  • I don’t think it was all three, but maybe put two of the smaller ones in the same building. I think we wanted more information, and we never got it. Could we put ORLA and Lincoln together? It is hard to put this off the table. It was noted: Avanti has high school age kids, and Lincoln does not.

  • I hear the concerns for implementation concepts. I think to discuss apples to apples, we must put those concerns aside. 7-8, for example is a new idea. To keep integrity of process, we need to keep those ideas out there.

  • There was discussion about how many students are in each of the specialized school programs. Do we want to revise scenario #8 to put ORLA and Avanti in a building together? In scenario #8 we are proposing for ORLA and Avanti to be combined into a single facility.

  • Avanti has a very large space.

  • If we are trying to optimize everything, we need to optimize specialized programs.

  • I still don’t know what anyone means by 1A.

  • When considering the option program consolidation question, remember that Lincoln students are one of the lowest socio-economic schools (SES) in the district. And we discussed that SES was an important metric to us.

  • Regarding the 7-8 option, there was concern expressed that junior highs are less focused on community and have a more structured approach. The students are barely there and then they’re gone.

  • As a committee, I want us to consider that there aren’t any of us who want to close schools. I don’t think this is going to solve our problems. We don’t have a small school problem. We have a salary problem. We are over committed on salaries. If the goal of the district is to create larger, more fully resourced schools. This will do that. This isn’t going to save the district any money. I wonder if there is some value of us collectively saying that to the school board. If others don’t agree, come forward and say so.

  • I am fine with closing schools if that means preserving programs and electives. It bothers me that we cut music last year. I looked at the research on school closure. There is no long-term negative effect on students with closing schools. There is an initial effect. But long-term there is not an effect.

  • I don’t necessarily want to close schools, but I see the benefits.

  • What happens in this room doesn’t exist in a silo. We don’t want to get into the weeds on budget, for example. Chicago closed schools 10 years ago and those communities never made it back. 60-61% of us want to keep kids at schools close to where they live.

  • If we drop the bottom two [scenarios] and re-rank. I don’t think either one of those are what we really want.

  • In private business, I’ve encountered a RIF twice. To meet budget needs, you’re going to have to reduce the number of schools. But think about where you are going to reduce salaries such as front office support staff. Yes, it is tough.


The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:15 p.m.