This is a letter I emailed to the school board today.
Dear Board Members,
The superintendent’s facilities and redistricting time lines are a lot of information, and it will take a while to process it all, but I wanted to raise some immediate concerns about the treatment of Hoover kids under his proposal.
1. The proposal would close Hoover before there is any available space to put Hoover’s kids. Although Hoover’s attendance area will be eliminated at the end of 2015-16, the redistricting time line does not indicate which schools will be redistricted to take in Hoover’s students. It states that Hoover is the only school being rezoned in 2016 – but the Hoover kids have to go somewhere.
The most likely candidates – Longfellow, Lemme, Lucas, and Mann – will not have the capacity to accommodate Hoover’s kids. Mann is projected to be 18% overcrowded, and Lucas to be 24% overcrowded, at that time. Longfellow and Lemme will have lost some students to the new southeast elementary school, but will still be unable to accommodate 350 students from Hoover without being significantly over capacity.
2. The proposal would use Hoover as a swing school for school populations that are much larger than Hoover’s capacity. Hoover’s capacity is 304, but Lucas is projected to have 471 students when it uses Hoover in 2016, and will have even more if it has absorbed some of Hoover’s enrollment. Longfellow will also have way more than 304 students when it would be using Hoover as a swing school in 2017, since it will presumably have absorbed much of Hoover.
The enrollments at Shimek, Lincoln, and Mann are small enough to fit into Hoover’s space – but they are also small enough that two of them could fit simultaneously into the new 500-student elementary school (if they could be renovated simultaneously). The initial plan to use the new elementary as a swing school makes more sense than using Hoover.
3. Under the proposal, Hoover families would have to go through redistricting three times in five years – first when the school closes in 2016, then when east side schools are redistricted again in 2018, then when they are redistricted again in 2020.
4. In sum, the proposal takes Hoover kids, moves them to schools that are even more overcrowded, then, in many cases, moves them back into an overcrowded Hoover as a swing school, then makes them go through redistricting again not once, but twice.
The difficulty of closing Hoover during a time of overcrowding is one of many reasons the board should reconsider the closure. The closure is bad for the ICCSD, which needs Hoover’s capacity, and the proposed treatment of Hoover’s kids afterward just compounds the injury.
Thanks for your consideration..