October 19, 2023

School Facility Efficiency Review Committee


Meeting 4 Minutes: 10/19/23

Committee Convened: 5:38 PM.


Welcome and greetings from Shannon Bingham (SB) from Western Demographics, Inc. (WDI). Mr. Bingham acknowledged the Squaxin tribal ancestry of the district.


SB provided an overview of the 35 research questions that were previously submitted and the data and analytics that have been compiled to respond to those questions. He indicated that at this meeting he will be presenting some scenarios for committee reaction. Based on the responses to a survey at the end of tonight’s meeting, he will be running enrollment numbers, boundary situations, economic diversity, etc. for the scenarios that the committee wants to review in more detail. He also reviewed the results of the survey from the prior meeting.


He shared initial financial analysis indicating if an elementary or middle school was closed there would be approximately $1 million in annual savings. If three were closed, it would save about $3 million. Three school closures would put about 1.7% back into the budget.


Break 6:50-7:03


After the break, more details about possible efficiency strategies were presented. These were presented with the intention of the committee members providing their feedback on these potential strategies via a survey. The survey allowed committee members to examine core and ancillary parameters. An overview of the difference between the parameters was addressed.


Mr. Bingham further addressed school district geography and instructional programs, consolidation barriers like feeder structures and long-term new housing potential. P-8 challenges were addressed. K-6 (6th grade retention in elementary) challenges were discussed. SB stated that if the survey doesn’t address concepts important to committee members, 3x5 cards were available to submit items of concern.


The committee divided into groups for 7:43-7:52 p.m.


Time to take the survey was given at 7:53.


The committee members interspersed questions and comments throughout the presentation. Those are documented below.



Questions/Comments from committee members with answer from SB/WDI and or administration members:


What is the intent for use of the potential savings? Would we want to look at improving service at the schools to bring level of service up?

Last year about $7 million was cut out of the budget, but class sizes were also raised across the district. This year we are looking at a $3 or $4 million budget deficit. Annual savings would be used to preserve programs and salaries.


What is included in the $1 million/school closure savings? Are you going to speak to where the $1 million comes from?

Administration, office staff, instructional support, utility and maintenance costs. Cost savings are lower if the building is retained by the district and needs heated and security patrols.


Has there been consideration of modifications to buildings that would be receiving students as part of this change?

There could be some one-time costs that would be offset by many years of operational savings or the sale of another building.


How do you balance socioeconomic status at schools?

I use free and reduced-price lunch data to try to keep it balanced.


Can we see a cost per student, not just a cost per school?

WDI will try to collect that.


Frustrated that this is a lot of work to save $3 million. Is cost savings achievable in another way?

The scale of the savings is more tangible when you explore our cuts to the 4th-grade music program last year.


Did you say research doesn’t support K-8 schools?

There is very little academic research on K8s. They anecdotally work well for low- and moderate-income areas.


What qualifies a school for Title I funds? Is there is a percentage threshold that qualifies the school for Title I funds?

School-wide supports kick in at 35% FRL.


My concern is the $1 million/ elementary school will not be realized.


Clarification of 2006 decision…LP Brown boundary then was to bring enrollment back up because it was low enrollment at that time.

Balance FRL and restore enrollment. Clarification of 2006 decision…LP Brown boundary then was to bring enrollment back up because it was low enrollment at that time.


What is the difference between combinability and consolidation?

Combinability is when circumstances are conducive to combine with another site that is close by.


What does school enrollment look like if students weren’t going to schools close to where they live?

I’ll show that on Monday.


Are those specialized programs not part of our consideration?

Currently, they are not.


What does “program” refer to?

K-5, 6-8, 9-12 or K8, 9-12, etc.


Is the timeline for the study 10 years?

Yes. Both what FLO prepared and what WDI has been charged with is a 10-year forecast.


K-8 content-driven instruction is where K8’s tend to fail if the district doesn’t adequately invest in it. So, it would be to some extent trusting the district.



Do you keep track of the ones (P8’s) that you have been involved in?

Most of them have been extremely successful.


ORLA already has this kind of program. If we’re going to have two P8s, maybe we make the proposed K-8 schools into programs like ORLA.

Comes down to do we just want to close schools? Or do we want to do some creative changes?


If we did K8, what would class sizes be? And how many preps would be involved for teachers if we go to K88:

SB will look into this.


P-8 and K-8, if we were to make a single place in the district where all the preschools would go, would that make more room elsewhere for the K-8s?

Yes, it would open seats.


Have you considered putting more grades at middle schools?

If we put more students at middle school, then it would make elementary schools even lower utilized.


If we took the JAMS program at Jefferson which pulls kids from all over the district, it would eliminate some of the roundabout traffic.

I need a database with CSI and JAMS in it.


You could put both the CSI and JAMS program at one school. You have McKenney and Centennial are all large. Could you redo the Washington boundary?

Those attendance areas are east of I-5, you could only consider combining those two into one.


Maybe. Washington is close to being full, so there is not a lot of seats there. And transportation would be significant.


When moving middle school programs, could you move one into ORLA.

Perhaps JAMS or CSI. Would have to figure out what the perspectives are on that.



The committee members were asked to take a survey and given time to do so.


The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.