Friday, December 19, 2008

281 RAS Facility Meetings 1 & 2

I attended the Q&A of both meetings in order to better understand the actions being taken by the district. Also, I wanted to understand what the citizen's are concerned about during this time of change. Here are my thoughts regarding the meetings:
  • I was disappointed that only ~60 citizens showed up at each of the meetings. Seemed low given ~60,000 adult citizens in RAS community.
  • The presenters did a good job of describing what they have learned so far and the process that will be followed. (Material)(schedule)
  • During the 1st mtg, the questions and comments were primarily focused on clarifying what had been presented. There were a few questions regarding scenario creation criteria.
  • During the 2nd mtg, the questions and comments started out in a similar manner. However they somewhat shifted over to pleas for their local city, schools or programs. Some polite and proper, others not so much so.
  • Also, the most interesting event to me was when the crowd applauded a parent's comment that action should be taken quickly and as deep as necessary in order to allow the kids to get use to their new schools. And to avoid the year after year talk of future school closings. I think I agree.
  • The Admin also made clear that any "above planned" cost reductions will be put into savings. They are very concerned that the state funding increases will be zero in the near term, with the outside possibility of some reduction.
  • Finally, the Admin agreed there would be many factors considered in formulating and choosing the scenarios. (ie Pain{student density in schools}, Bldg renovation status, School locations relative to students, Transportation planning, Program fit in bldgs, Possible program expansion, etc.) They noted that who voted for or against the levy will not be one of the criteria.
Overall the meetings went well. Now the scenario creation is in the hands of the consultants and their teams. Let's keep them in our thoughts as they complete this important work...

1 comment:

Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner said...

My husband attended the meeting and summarized it for me much as you have here. I have also talked with many folks on the board and staff and everyone acknowledges the decisions are tough and we need citizen input and engagement in order to make the process as smooth and healthy as possible. I too wish more people had attended those meetings. I think it's partly a symptom of having so many issues facing us locally, nationally and globally that it's hard to know which ones are most critical and urgent. But our quality of life depends so much on what bubbles up from right here in our own 'hood. I sure hope people realize how much they should be paying attention to what's happening in the district right now.